Allied Cooperative Addresses Propane Shortage

A propane shortage and extreme cold weather is raising concerns from local residents who rely on propane to heat their homes. Our 10 day weather forecast calls for temperatures that are well below average, and the Midwest propane inventories are down 39.4% over last year at this time.  With very high demand and short supply, prices continue to set all-time highs.

“Our cost per gallon has risen in direct correlation with our cost per gallon at the terminals,” said Dianne Schubert, Allied Cooperative’s LP Operations Manager. “All terminals are on allocation, which means propane suppliers are only allowed to pull a set number of loads per day.”

The tight supply is due to several factors.  Farmers used more propane than usual to dry the late harvest of grain that came out of the fields too wet.  Home heating customers dipped into propane supplies early due to colder than normal temperatures. And the Cochin pipeline that carries propane to the Midwest from Canada closed for several weeks, stalling supply to the region.

“We are taking proactive measures to ensure that we meet our customer’s needs this winter,” said Schubert.  “Unfortunately, the price is an issue that hurts all of our pocketbooks, and one that retailers like ourselves have very little control over.”

Allied Cooperative urges propane users to take steps to conserve fuel, keep track of their tank levels and allow for delivery time. Some suggested steps for fuel conservation include:

  • Make reasonable thermostat adjustments and consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to adjust heat levels downward when no one’s home.
  • Wrap propane water heaters with an insulating jacket, being careful not to cover the thermostat, the water heater’s top, bottom, or burner compartment. Insulate the first six feet of the heater’s hot and cold water pipes.
  • Increase the efficiency of a hot water heater by draining about a quart of water from the bottom drain valve every three months to remove accumulated sediments.
  • Replace dirty furnace filters.
  • Consider using weather stripping around leaky windows and doors. Use inexpensive plastic window sheeting to seal drafty windows.
  • Make sure heat vents, registers, and radiators are free of dust or other obstructions.
  • Close window coverings in the evening and open south-facing window coverings during the day.
  • Use less hot water or lower the water heater thermostat to reduce propane usage.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning a water heater down from 120° F to 115° F can reduce hot water-related propane consumption by as much as 10 percent.

Energy assistance is an important tool for people that need it.  For more information on Wisconsin’s energy assistance programs go to http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov.  For tips on conservation methods that can help your reduce your propane usage, visit Allied Cooperative’s website at www.allied.coop.

Allied Cooperative is a $225 million cooperative with services ranging from agronomy, feed and grain to LP and refined fuels to auto parts, hardware, tires and convenience stores.  Allied Cooperative has locations in Adams, Blair, Galesville, Mauston, Melrose, Mindoro, Plainfield, Plover, Tomah, West Salem, Wisconsin Dells and Wisconsin Rapids.

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Cold & Wet November / Wisconsin Ag Statistics

Well its official, November was cold and wet, in case you missed those 30 days back in 2013.  It looks like we have some cold weather coming in Monday, the governor of Minnesota called of all public schools due to the subzero forecast.  Below is some information our DeKalb & Asgrow technical agronomist sent us. Also if you are curious, click here to access the 2013 Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics report.  Please stay warm over the next 5 days, it’s going to be dangerously cold out! — Rob Shields

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More Private Applicator Training Available

I recently received the January – February newsletter from the UW-Extension Office in Trempealeau County. There are several events that may be of interest to area farmers.  Check with your local UWEX office for additional information.  There looks to be some more opportunities to acquire your private applicator license.  Please remember there are a lot of insecticides, and some herbicides you cannot purchase unless you are licensed.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Agronomy Update –  Thursday, January 9, 7:30 am, Clarion Hotel Campus Area, 2703 Craig Road. Contact: Eau Claire County Extension Office 715-839-4712

Financial Record Keeping Basics – January 9, 1-3 pm. introduction to AAIMS and Easy Farm computer record keeping software, Western Technical College, Independence.

Financial Record Keeping Basics – January 10, 9-3 pm. introduction to QuickBooks, Western Technical College, Independence.

Pesticide Applicator Training – January 22, 9-3, Tremplo Room, Trempealeau County Court House, Whitehall.

Dairy Modernization – a look at robotic milking and calf feeding, January 28, 9-12:30 Eau Claire County Extension Office, Con-tact: Eau Claire County Extension Office 715-839-4712

Grain Market Outlook – , January 30, Pokies Place, Melrose, 11-2, $10 charge for lunch

Pesticide Applicator Training – February 5, 9-3, Tremplo Room, Trempealeau County Court House, Whitehall

Pesticide Applicator Training – February 19, 9-3, Tremplo Room, Trempealeau County Court House, Whitehall

Cattle Feeders Clinic – February 27, Mondovi, KD’s Home Style Eatery. Contact: Buffalo Cty Extension Office 608-685-6256

Sign Up Now for Private Applicator Training & Testing

We have to get used to writing 2014 now.   The year 2013 is now over, and what a roller coaster ride it was — a late wet spring followed by a dry summer. Hopefully 2014 can provide us with a season that is more favorable for crop production in Wisconsin.

The 2014 season is only a few months away. Now is a great time to start planning for what is needed during the next crop season.  One thing you don’t want to limit yourself on is what crop protection product your farm has access to. If you do your own spraying please check to make sure your Private Applicator license is up to date.  If not please sign up NOW with your local UW Extension office. (See below for more information on these classes.)  This way you will have access to any of the crop protection products that are sold at your local Allied Cooperative Agronomy center. Please have a safe and productive 2014 season!   — Rob Shields, Agronomist

Private Pesticide Applicator Training classes will once again be offered by your local UW-Extension office. Anyone who intends to purchase, mix, load, apply, or direct the use of restricted use pesticides as a private applicator must be certified. Certification is good for five years. There are two ways to become certified. Purchase and study the training manual and attend an all-day training class offered by your local UW-Extension office. These classes consist of presentations followed by a written exam at the end of the day. If you are unable to attend one of the classroom sessions, the second option is to self-study and schedule time through the UW-Extension office to take the exam on your own. Training manuals are available at your local UW-Extension office and must be purchased at least five (5) days before the class or individual exam is taken.

January 23 – Green Lake County

January 24 – Waushara County

January 31 – Adams County

February 5 – Marquette County

February 14 – Wood County

February 21 – Juneau County

February 21 – Portage County

February 27 – Waupaca County

March 4 – Waupaca County

March 7 – Portage County

March 10 – Adams County

March 14 – Green Lake County

March 21 – Waushara County