Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Propane Shortage Hampers Drying...,

Grand Forks Herald | Farmers in eastern North Dakota and beyond are desperately trying to bring in the high-moisture corn crop in the region, but are running into a liquid propane fuel shortage. Mike Rud, executive director of the North Dakota Propane Gas Association, said the recent sudden resumption in the corn drying activity after freeze-up is causing demand to exceed supplies.

His association has reactivated requests to Gov. John Hoeven’s office, asking for a waiver that would allow truckers to work more than 11 hours in a day — as many as 15 hours or more — to deliver propane. But the problem is bigger than that.

“For the guy that’s trying to get corn dried and can’t get propane when he wants it, it’s a huge deal,” Astrup said. He said he’s been taking care of his own propane customers. Most farmers he has talked to have been reasonable, but some — those who might purchase fertilizer, chemical and refined fuels, but get their propane elsewhere — have not understood that they can’t get propane from him on the spur-of-the-moment.

Astrup said suppliers sometimes simply can’t keep up with demands for trucking, as they might use the same tractors to haul different trailers with petroleum products, anhydrous ammonia and liquid propane. “It could be their growers are using more than they thought they would.”