EIA outlines crop drying factors impacting Midwest propane supplies

October 2, 2014 By    

When it comes to crop drying, weather, market demand and crop size affect the amount of propane used in corn-producing states, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Farmers may have another banner year, as the corn harvest this fall is expected to be even larger than last year’s record-setting crop, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In September and October, crop drying boosts the amount of propane used in states that grow corn. The weather plays a role in how much propane will be needed to dry crops, however. It affects the amount of moisture the crops get as well as the time it takes for plants to mature. In addition, favorable conditions enable farmers to dry their corn in the field, without the use of propane. Market demand for corn is another reason farmers may choose to leave the corn in the field to dry.

Last year, the amount of propane used in the five states that produced the most corn was higher in October than it was in January during peak heating season, the EIA says. For instance, last October’s propane inventories in the Midwest were drawn down by 4.1 million barrels, the largest October stock draw since 1985, the agency says. As a result, propane inventories were down before the heating season even began and they stayed at the bottom of the five-year range through December.

This year, propane inventories in the Midwest are up, according to the EIA. Propane inventories as of Sept. 26 were 3.7 million barrels higher than where they were last year and higher than the five-year average.

This surplus may not matter if the demand for propane is high, however. Changes in how propane is delivered may affect supply in the Midwest now that the Cochin Pipeline moves condensate from the Midwest to Canada. Relief may come from pipelines that move propane to the upper Midwest from Conway, additional storage capacity and the use of rail to move propane, says the EIA.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Comments are currently closed.