Propane & Agriculture
Approximately one billion gallons of propane are used on more than 660,000 U.S. farms every year. Propane is many farmers’ first fuel choice because it is reliable, safe, clean and efficient, and can be used in hundreds of different agricultural applications. There are many possible uses:
Farmers using propane-gas flame weeders have reported higher yields per acre by using propane.
Propane gas flamers can provide 70 percent to 90 percent control of wintering adult insects compared with 25 percent to 50 percent provided by chemical pesticides, and propane flamers cost three to five times less per acre than chemical controls.
Propane drying systems are widely used because of the simplicity of the required equipment, which contributes to low equipment, fuel and maintenance costs.
Propane-fueled irrigation pumps produce the same amount of power as gasoline or diesel engines, with lower emissions. Propane will not leave a dangerous and sometimes toxic residue, as liquid fuels can.
Poultry and Pig Brooding
Infrared propane brooders have proven to be more efficient and stay warmer with less heat than forced-air furnaces. Fuel costs are also 15 to 25 percent less than those for forced-air furnaces.
Propane heaters operate efficiently for long periods while producing enough heat to prevent valuable crops from being ruined by unexpected cold spells. Propane is also used in heating greenhouses.
Tractors and Forklifts
Studies show that tractors fueled by propane can have lower major overhaul costs than gasoline-powered tractors, and sometimes, engine life is prolonged.Some gasoline-powered tractors that are converted to propane have an increase in power. In a properly modified engine, farmers report the ability to pull larger equipment than before, because propane has a much higher octane rating than gasoline.
Properly maintained propane-fueled forklifts operate with emissions well below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
Environmentally Friendly Propane gas is nontoxic and insoluble in water, so it poses no threat to aquifers or the groundwater supply.
Propane is an approved, alternative fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act. It is one of the lightest hydrocarbons in existence, and is one of the cleanest burning of all alternative fuels.
You Can Take It with You
Propane is the most portable alternative fuel. Storage tanks can be placed around the main farm area or in the field. Tanks can also be moved with the work site, allowing farmers to power equipment in even the remotest areas of a farm.