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5 Ways Propane is Used in Agriculture

Agriculture is a great consumer of propane as many of its different sectors take advantage of propane’s clean use. Because the agriculture industry is large and growing, it requires a reliable fuel to meet its needs. As of 2017, nearly 830,000 farms across the U.S. use propane. Whether for heat, watering, or material handling, propane provides efficient energy to power agricultural needs of all types.

Agricultural Building Heat

Propane plays a large role in agricultural building heat. In places like the Midwest that get freezing temperatures in the winters, building heat is critical to keep livestock healthy. Just like how people use propane to heat their homes, farms use propane to heat agricultural buildings for livestock and horticulture. For example, building heat is critical during peak livestock seasons like pig farrowing. Propane building heat is also used in commercial greenhouses to maintain proper temperature control to promote plant growth. Greenhouses may also use propane in their dehumidification process to dry the air to reduce the likeliness of disease in plants, increasing plant quality.

man checking plants in propane heated greenhouse

Irrigation engines

Many farms from California’s central valley to Florida’s citrus groves use propane irrigation engines in their production. Irrigation engines are important to many producers because they provide crops with an efficient and adequate water supply. Propane irrigation engines are a top choice for these producers for their efficiency and cost effectiveness. Many farmers who have made the switch to propane have reported 28% higher performance than diesel engines as well as fuel savings up to 45%. Propane irrigation engines are also cleaner burning compared to diesel engines. While new diesel engines require exhaust fluid to meet environmental emissions standards, propane engines do not. Propane powered irrigation engines will give you peace of mind knowing you are effectively irrigating your crop while keeping up with environmental regulations.

propane powered irrigation engine watering field

Grain Dryers

Grain drying is incredibly important for producers to prevent spoilage of harvested crops during storage. About 80% of grain dryers today run on propane. This is attributed to its portability, availability, and effectiveness. Because propane has a higher BTU than natural gas, there are less shutdowns within the system, helping them work more effectively. Today’s propane grain dryers are up to 50% more efficient than older grain dryers, stretching fuel savings farther than ever before. With propane’s efficiency, you can remove more moisture from harvested crops in less time while keeping your crop safe. Because propane is a clean and safe fuel, it won’t contaminate your crop.

propane powered grain dryer

Flame weed control

For organic farmers who want to eliminate weeds without using conventional herbicides, organic farmers look to propane for flame weed control. Flame weeding with propane is an effective way to eliminate weeds organically. This type of weeding works by heating the weed with a flame created by propane. When heated with intense heat, the plant cell ruptures causing the weed to die. This is also effective in maintaining weed control over time. Because propane is a clean burning fuel, weed flaming is a great way for organic farmers to control weeds throughout the growing season. For more information about flame weed control with propane, visit our blog post Flame Weeding with Propane: How Organic Farmers Are Benefiting.

tractor using propane to flame weed field

Wind machines

When plants like grapevines and tender fruit trees are subjected to dropping overnight temperatures, they could potentially suffer cold injury leading to a loss of yield. Propane powered wind machines work to help push warm air down to replace cold air near target crops. Because propane exceeds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, it is a clean burning fuel giving off less emissions compared to gasoline or diesel. It is also non-toxic, posing no risk to soil or water should a leak occur.

propane powered wind machine for vineyard health

 

Propane can power your farm, ranch, or vineyard in multiple capacities. To learn how Delta Liquid Energy can help you with your commercial and agricultural needs, contact us today.

 

Additional Sources:

To learn how to receive incentives for using propane on the farm visit the Propane Education & Research Council