Propane in short supply as Sask. farmers dry grain harvest

By CKOM News Staff
October 9, 2018 - 5:00pm

Cool, wet weather in Saskatchewan has led to a propane shortage in the province as farmers race to dry their harvested grains.

Federated Co-Operatives Limited (FCL) Propane Director Keith Morin said it’s the “worst we’ve ever been hit” in the industry, as they struggle to keep up with demand.

“The cool temperatures and amount of moisture we’ve had across the whole province, it’s really caused somewhat unprecedented grain drying,” he said on Tuesday. “We’re doing what we can to put resources in place, but it’s tough to do in a short period of time.”

FCL typically delivers propane to farms within 48 hours of an order, but the spike in demand has led to delays of up to 10 days in areas like Melfort.

Morin said there are usually geographical pockets where demand increases due to moisture, but the damp September across the prairies has left a lot more farmers with drenched grain fields.

He said they’re working on hiring more delivery drivers and moving trucks into higher demand areas.

However, he noted the backlogs could get worse if the weather doesn’t improve.

“If the sun starts to shine and temperatures start to rise, we could certainly start to see demand lower and get back to more traditional levels,” Morin said.

APAS V.P. hopes for quick resoluton

Ian Boxall, Vice President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), and a farmer in the Tisdale area, said he has has heard some produecrs are waiting up to a week to get propane. 

"You know we just had another snow up here in the northeast on Sunday so most of the grain in this area has come off tough and guys are having to dry it, so this puts producers in a tough predicament," he said.

Boxall said the only saving grace for farmers is that grain keeps keeps better in cooler temperatures, but he added it won't be long before new problems emerge.

"I haven't heard as to why there is a shortage or what the shortage is, or if it will be rectified but as things get colder and all of a sudden homes and everything else starts needing propane, that's priority over grain drying issues," he said.

--- with files Nigel Maxwell

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