Due to record cold temperatures and unprecedented winter storms, many producers had to increase heating needs for their homes and outbuildings this winter. This winter is a strong reminder that implementing energy saving practices year round can help protect producers from unpredictable weather conditions.
"The propane industry is working very hard to get fuel to all the farms and homes that depend upon it for so many vital operations," Mark Leitman, director of business and marketing for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), said. "Fuel conservation strategies can help keep farm operations running smoothly, while reducing fuel usage and cost."
Together with leading ag heating manufacturer, L.B. White, PERC compiled the following tips for conserving propane for poultry operations.
Tips for Poultry Operations
- Maintain building control temperature setpoints. Adjust temperature to a level that keeps poultry comfortable but not over- or under-heated. Keep leaks repaired and seal cracks around doors, windows and other openings to reduce drastic swings in temperature and reduce overall fuel consumption.
- Adjust ventilation to control moisture. Though underventilating will affect air quality, overventilating by just 20 percent can increase propane use by 50 percent. Monitor the number of fans in use, and fan speed, to ensure enough air is being provided. If overventilation occurs, turn off fans or reduce overall fan speed.
- Make seasonal adjustments to the manual variable-rate gas valve to reduce fuel consumption. If your ag heater is so equipped, manually adjust the degree of fuel being used. Some L.B. White heaters, for example, can be manually adjusted to reduce maximum fuel consumption.
- Keep ag heaters running smoothly with regular maintenance. Clean burner orifices and heater components on a regular basis per the instructions in your heater's maintenance manual. Performing seasonal maintenance checks will keep your ag heaters running smoothly and efficiently.
- Make sure thermostats and temperature sensors are located away from drafts. Incorrect placement of thermostats near leaks or drafts may cause improper temperature readings and lead to building overheating.
- Maintain proper gas pressure. Check your gas pressure often and make sure it is set according to the heater data plate specifications.
"Heating management mistakes often cause temperature overshoot, where the ventilation system compensates by sending heat out of the building," said Marcus Schmitz, marketing manager for L.B. White Company, Inc. "This results in significant and costly temperature swings. We recommend producers contact a poultry building ventilation and heating expert to ensure proper setup for maximum fuel efficiency."
Propane Farm Incentive Programs
Producers can earn up to $2,000 toward the purchase of a new L.B. White ag heater through the PERC Propane Farm Incentive Program, a research and demonstration initiative. To qualify, farmers are asked to provide feedback on equipment performance and efficiency during the growing season, which is used to help PERC develop new propane-powered farm technologies. Purchase incentives are also available for other propane-powered ag equipment, including irrigation engines, heaters, flame weeding technology, and more.