The wet harvest is causing record-high demands for propane to use in grain drying and delays in service from propane suppliers.
“The issue is not that there is a shortage of propane, but rather the propane demand has risen so drastically for grain drying that the whole industry and system is not able to handle the demand,” said Keith Morin, Federated Co-Operatives Ltd. (FCL) director of propane.
“We have been so busy it has been impossible to keep up, but our drivers are working as many hours as regulations allow to help the situation.”
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Morin stated that semi drivers are lining up for four to six hours at gas plants and terminals to fill up before they can make deliveries to bulk storage tanks.
“We have moved delivery trucks around from branches and hired more drivers, but we can’t keep pace with all of the orders coming in.”
To give a sense for the demand, Morin noted that at Co-op’s Melfort propane branch in September, propane sales for grain drying were more than two and a half times higher than any of the past 10 years for the same month.
Although Melfort is currently the busiest area for Co-op propane sales, Morin said there are also high demands in Saskatoon, Yorkton and Meadow Lake branches in Saskatchewan.
In Alberta, the Edmonton and Grasslands branches are also busy, while in Manitoba the Brandon, Winnipeg and Carman branches are extended as they supply propane for corn drying.
“We’re doing everything we can to serve our customers, but we realize they are frustrated with the situation,” said Morin. “We’ll continue to do our best to help out our farm customers. We know this is already a tough harvest for many of them.”