By now users of propane in the upper Midwest have experienced sticker shock. So far I haven’t heard of any production site that failed to receive propane when needed but I have heard of very high prices, prepay deliveries only, partial fills only, etc.

At the same time I’ve heard of innovative methods to keep this production expense under control. At least one producer chose to heat his empty facility between turns with a kerosene fired space heater versus the barn’s LBWhite heaters. With no animals in the barn the variations in temperature associated with the kerosene heater location weren’t a concern and kerosene was determined to be cheaper than propane for this period.

A second propane saving method many have investigated is lowering the set point of their ventilation controllers. While this clearly saves on propane, the savings come with a potential risk. If the set point was too high relative to the size of pigs in a facility, lowering of the set point is the correct management decision. A return to higher set points once propane drops in price is not recommended as it only increases production expense and risks putting pigs in minor heat stress situations when outside temperatures begin to warm.

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