LP rationing worries Iowa farmers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

LP rationing worries Iowa farmers

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BUCHANAN COUNTY (KWWL) - Finally, a dry spell is fueling progress in Iowa fields, but not for long.  After a record wet summer, grain needs propane to dry, but some elevators are not accepting wet corn if driers are full, or if they've run out of natural gas.  Without LP, farmers could lose big money.  Many are getting concerned about this year's harvest.  A combination of wet weather and a rationing of propane could mean some fields may not be harvested until spring. 

At the Kaufman farm near Fairbank, field work got a late start.  Windy, wet weather left the fields with more moisture - causing a later harvest.

"Our growing conditions were different. We've had a lot of wind, lot of rain, the biggest thing is we didn't have enough heat units this year so our corn is extra wet," said Kevin Kaufman.

On top of that, the propane he needs to dry the corn in his elevator is running out.  The LP gauge is in the red and he's not sure when more may be delivered.  Meantime, the corn needs to dry.  It's at moisture levels of about 25%.

"If you can't dry your corn, you can't store your corn. You can put it in a bin around 18 or 19 and put air into it and it might get by but 25%, it'll spoil in the bin," said Kaufman.

Now, it's a race against time - in the fields and at the elevator.

"It just depends on what Mother Nature does from here on out. We have to be able to get the corn out and get it dried because if it would snow or start raining again, then we're waiting until spring and I've never left corn in the field, ever," said Kaufman.

Kaufman says his supplier believes more may be available in the next day or two but it still may not be enough for them.  Earlier this week, Governor Chet Culver allowed propane truck drivers to stay on the road longer to deliver more of the gas to those who need it.  It's predicted that even with agreeable weather it looks like many farmers will be in fields through Thanksgiving.

Online Reporter: Bob Waters

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