Liquid Propane Prices Are Down, Supplies Are Up as Harvest Season Opens

(Radio Iowa) As farmers in many parts of Iowa launch into the harvest, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says there’s good news for producers who might need to dry their grains using heaters fueled by tanks of liquid propane. While LP supplies have been tight in recent years, Naig says that doesn’t appear to be the case this season, as fall arrives on Saturday.

“We are well above the five-year average and we’re significantly above last year in terms of both supply and the price of propane,” Naig says. “It’s actually roughly 39 to 40 cents lower than it was last year at this time.” Propane prices are averaging around a dollar-77 a gallon in Iowa, which is down from around two-16 a year ago.

“We’ve seen years where we’ve had a little later harvest or we had some conditions where we didn’t see dry down of that corn and so we had significant drying demand,” Naig says. “Also met with a cold snap, and so we would be heating and drying all at the same time, and that is where you can run into some of the supply challenges.” Naig remains optimistic prices will hold steady as we head into the cold weather months.

“I think we’re going to have a little more of a ramped-up start to harvest,” Naig says. “You’ve already got some of that underway. I don’t think we’ll all be hitting it at one time and really demanding the system. The other thing is, I think we’re going to have good dry down in the field. Those two factors tell me that I don’t think we’re going to see significant corn drying needs.” It’s also a plus for Iowans who heat their homes with L-P. Estimates show about 67% of Iowans use natural gas to heat their homes, 15% use electricity, and 14% use liquid propane.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)