Blog

From Farm to Table: Propane Leads the Way

Posted: April 3, 2018

There’s a reason more than 800,000 farms across America regularly use propane in their day-to-day operations. Clean, reliable, and efficient American propane provides the power to plant, water, harvest, dry, store, and transport our national food supply.

Michigan leads the nation in production of crops like asparagus, cucumbers, and cherries, just to name a few. Our state’s agriculture contributes over $101 billion (yes, BILLION) annually to our economy, and second in diversity only to California.

Agricultural Uses of Propane

Here’s just a brief look at how today’s farmers are using propane throughout every phase of the agricultural process.

  • Irrigation engines. When the rain just won’t come, irrigation engines help farmers keep their crops well hydrated. New propane engines are even cleaner and more efficient than older machines, and offer high-tech features like remote monitoring and control systems.

  • Weed control. As we learn more and more about the dangers of herbicides, propane flame weed control has emerged as an effective alternative. The heat ruptures plant cells, killing the weed. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but just as effective, and it allows farmers to return to the fields immediately.
  • Grain dryers. New high-efficiency propane grain dryers can remove the same amount of moisture from harvested grain while using barely half the thermal energy as before.
  • Storage facilities. Propane makes a great fuel source for heating both your buildings and water supply for your plant and animal containment facilities, greenhouses, milking parlors, storage silos, barns, and more.
  • Standby generators. Even relatively brief power failures can reduce your output and create very costly interruptions in your production. Propane makes the ideal fuel for standby and backup generators because it does not degrade over time.
  • Vehicles and transportation. Propane is an excellent fuel source for all kinds of farm vehicles, from riding lawnmowers and forklifts to tractors and even delivery trucks. Propane is cheaper to operate per mile, burns cleaner, and requires less servicing. Many vehicles can be easily converted from diesel or gasoline to propane.

Why Use Propane on Your Farm?

The advantages are numerous and significant.

  • Cost savings. In an economic environment where every dollar saved can make a huge difference, propane-powered vehicles and equipment deliver equal or superior performance at reduced overall cost, when purchase price, cost of operation, maintenance requirements, and tax incentives are all considered.
  • Fewer emissions. Propane burns cleanly and efficiently, with 11 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel and 24 percent less than gasoline. That’s great news for those who love sustainable agriculture and protecting the environment—in other words, all of us. And it will help you “future proof” your operations in anticipation of increasing state and federal regulations and standards.
  • Reliability. When it absolutely, positively has to work, propane is there for you. It doesn’t degrade like other fuels, making it perfect for backup generators. Because it burns cleanly, engine life tends to be longer with propane equipment, and you won’t need to repair or service as often.
  • Flexibility. With propane equipment, you don’t have to worry about running new fuel lines or connecting everything to the “grid.” Propane makes it easy to add an extra irrigation or grain dryer whenever you need it, or relocate your equipment where it’s more needed.
  • American made. Virtually all propane used in American is made in America. When you use propane on your farm, you are supporting American products, American businesses, and American industry—and contributing to our national energy independence.

To learn more about how you can use propane to improve cost, efficiency, and production at your farm or agricultural operation, contract a nearby propane retailer, or give the friendly folks at the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) a call at (517) 487-2021. You can also leave us a message online.