2017-2018 Propane Supply

Propane Supply

 

As a salesman for the energy team at CHS Larsen Cooperative, I have always worked under the concept that our customers should contract or lock in their fuel to secure a price for the season…whether that season be corn drying or winter heating; price was always the driving factor behind contracting propane.

What Has Happen

Over the past two decades I have seen my share of volatility and I had never witnessed any other reason to secure your propane aside from price….until  a few years ago.  Please, think back to the winter of 2016/2017 and remember one of the coldest winters on record in Northeast Wisconsin. Below zero for days, then weeks, the cold weather would just not let up- at this point, folks are becoming concerned about the cost of heating their homes; not realizing that our main source of heating homes in rural areas was quickly becoming nonexistent.  By the end of January 2014, Northeast Wisconsin residents were quickly becoming more concerned with how they would heat their home, not so much on what the cost would be to heat.  You might ask yourself, how could this happen?  We have winter every year in Wisconsin, we have always had enough LP to heat our homes in the past…how and why does this happen?

The winter of 2014 did not create this problem, it was just a contributing factor!  This disaster started in the Spring of 2013; where we saw a cold, wet planting season.  A cool growing season did not help either. Then we get to fall harvest and we have corn coming off the fields as high as 32% moisture.  This brought one of the biggest drying seasons the Midwest has ever seen.  During this entire time, China started putting obscene values on propane; which led to the US exporting record amounts of propane.  Going into winter, we saw some of the lowest inventories ever recorded.  Then the cold started….and wouldn’t let up.  We ran out of our winter supply real quick.

Were we not prepared for a super cold winter?  Maybe not, but that was just one factor that contributed to this disaster.  After all of the media coverage related to this shortage, Governor Walker declared a state of emergency and horrific stories of the elderly looking at the possibility of freezing to death because they would not leave their homes; we learned our lesson and have taken extra measures to assure that this will never happen again, right?

Sorry folks, nothing has changed, no adjustments have been made to assure us that we will not encounter another shortage.

Now, This Year

This brings me to the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2017.  Cold wet late spring, right?  Cooler summer, not the greatest growing season, right?  Fall will bring a heavy drying season.  The US is currently exporting more propane than ever.  National propane inventories are currently lower than they usually are in the dead of winter…this is summer, we should have an overabundance…but we don’t.  The question I have to ask; what kind of winter are we going to have?  This scenario scares the daylights out of me.  All I can think is that we need to protect ourselves from the possibility of a re-occurrence of 2014.

Now, ask yourself, how can you protect yourself and assure that I will have enough propane to get through the winter?  If you have not already done so, please contact CHS Larsen Cooperative and talk to our staff about securing your propane for Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.  We still have contracts available and would be happy to assist you with the process of locking in your supply.

by Kim Leisner, Energy Sales Manager

Plan Ahead to Purchase Cenex® Grease this Summer for Gift Cards

Grease Summer Special

 

Starting June 15 through August 15, 2017, end-users can earn VISA® gift cards on qualifying Cenex® grease products. End-users will receive a $15 gift card for every qualifying 4-10 pack or 35-pound pail purchased during the qualifying time frame.

Customers may also receive a $50 VISA gift card for every qualifying 120-pound keg purchased during the promotional window. Qualifying grease products include: HD Moly Xtreme, Poly-Xtreme, Maxtron® EP, Blue Gard 500+, Molyplex 500+, ML 365®, Red Protect XT™ and Maxtron® FS.

How it works:
  1. Provide a copy of the redemption form to the end-user to submit their claim. These forms can be found in your 2017 Lubricants Marketing Program book or click here to print them directly.
  2. End-user completes the Summer Grease for Gift Cards redemption form, attaches required receipts, and mails it to CHS post-marked no later than September 15, 2017.

Questions? Contact your CHS Larsen Co-op representative.

 

12 Propane Grilling Safety Tips

Propane Grilling

The trees are starting to bud and people are leaving their jackets at home. This can only mean one thing: It’s grilling season!

Antsy to fire up your FAVORITE CHARBROILED RECIPE? While grilling season is all about having fun with loved ones outdoors, it’s important to take proper safety measures before your first cookout. Outdoor grills have become very popular, and propane grills, in particular, come with their own set of precautions. To start your season off right, brush up on some important propane grilling guidelines below.

Purchasing your cylinders
  • Check all propane cylinders for dents or scratches before purchasing. Indentations can indicate potential leaks.
  • While transporting cylinders in your car, be sure to keep them upright and secured in place. Cylinders rolling around in your trunk or backseat can result in propane leaking into your vehicle.
  • Note that most states have restrictions on how many cylinders can be transported by motor vehicle at once. It’s always a good idea to review local laws and restrictions with your local fire department.
  • You can also purchase your propane cylinder at our local CHS Larsen Co-op New London Farm Store
Filling your cylinders
  • CHS Larsen Co-op also has a cylinder exchange program! For your convenience you can bring in your cylinder to our Oconto Falls location to exchange them.
  • In New London, you can either buy a new gas grill cylinder or fill your propane cylinders (any size).
Using your propane grill
  • Before you begin, take a few minutes to re-familiarize yourself with your grill’s manual. Double check the proper procedure for connecting a cylinder and for igniting your particular model.
  • Use your grill in an open area with good clearance above it. Remove any combustible materials that may be nearby.
  • Propane has an odor added to it that is similar to that of natural gas, so use your “sniffer” to detect signs of leaking.
  • Keep the lid of the grill open while lighting to avoid flash burns.
  • While operating the grill, maintain site lines and watch for any flare ups.
  • As a bonus safety precaution, have a water bottle nearby just in case any food or grease should catch fire.
Clean up and storage for next season
  • While packing up your grill, clean off any food residue or remaining grease to avoid any future flare ups or fires.
  • For long-term storage, keep cylinders upright, secure and out of reach for children.
  • Most states have fire codes for how many cylinders can be stored in one place. Your local fire department will have specific guidelines for your area

For any other questions or concerns about propane safety, you can check out the PROPANE EDUCATION AND RESOURCE CENTER’S website or contact your LOCAL Energy Specialist 

Image courtesy of FLICKR USER. Orginal Source Cenex.com

Choosing the Perfect Fuel Company—For You

fuel driver

Choosing a new fuel supplier after you have had a long standing relationship with your current supplier can be extremely stressful.  Stressful, but sometimes a necessary part of your business process.  Has your business model grown or changed in some way?  Is your supplier still fulfilling all of your current needs?  What are your top priorities when choosing a new fuel supplier?  I know we all immediately turn to the price of the product- but what if Supplier A was lower in price than Supplier B; but with Supplier A you were constantly running out of product or you were never able to contact the company representative when you had questions or needed assistance?  Supplier B is always available, they had a system in place that allowed them to know the amount of fuel in your tank(s) at all times?  Would you pay a little extra for excellent service and a premium product?

Business Owners’ Fuel Concerns

Having many conversations with local business owners I have encountered many of the same questions & concerns.  Below, I have listed five major concerns that seem to weigh heavy on business owners minds.

  1. I can’t afford to run out of fuel, how will I be sure that my tanks will be full?
  2. What happens if I have a fuel related breakdown?
  3. Who do I call if I have a problem after normal business hours?
  4. How will I know if I am making the right decision to lock in pricing or buy off the open market?
  5. Can I buy all of my energy products from the same supplier, rather than dealing with different companies for each product (ex: oil/grease or propane or fuel).
Providing Solutions for Your Concerns

At CHS Larsen Cooperative, we are invested in our customers’ best interests; so, we have addressed these major concerns.

  1. We have a monitored tank system for both propane and fuel tanks, which ensures you will always have fuel when you need it. This keeps you operating efficiently and making money!
  2. Fuel related issues? Not a problem, CHS Larsen Co-op with Cenex offers the Total Protection Plan (TPP) which is one of the best equipment warranties on the market. How do you qualify?  Just use our fuel and oil products!
  3. Your Energy Specialist are always available to assist with questions, concerns or operational issues, as well as an emergency phone number where our customer service representatives are available at all times; Day or Night / Weekend or Holidays. We are here for you.
  4. Our Energy Specialists are always aware of the ever changing market conditions and share this information with our customers daily. They are able to give you all of the information you need to make the best buying decision for your business.
  5. CHS Larsen Cooperative offers a complete line of Cenex fuel, Cenex oil & grease as well as propane. Imagine, one invoice for all of your fuel needs!  Your bookkeeper will thank you.
We are Here for You

We have a fully staffed service department that is available for repairs as minor as a diesel pump change out; to larger jobs like hooking up your new grain dryer system with propane.

As you can see, we care about our customers and their success.  After all, your success is our success.  As your business grows, we want to grow with you.  Wouldn’t you rather buy your energy products from a partner that is invested in your future, rather than buying from just another fuel company?

by Kim Leisner, Energy Sales Manager

Add Fuel Maintenance to Your Spring Planting Checklist

Add Fuel Maintenance to Your Spring Planting Checklist

From checking spare parts inventories to squeezing in one more maintenance check, equipment is always top of mind as you prepare for spring planting. And while it’s crucial to ensure engine components and moving parts are operating at peak performance, checking your fuel practices should carry equal weight. Your equipment is only as good as the fuel used in it, so it pays to get into the habit of keeping fuel clean.

Two key things affect the quality of your fuel supply: Keeping bulk fuel storage up to snuff and choosing the right fuel.

Better bulk fuel storage

If there’s one thing farmers should do during planting prep, it’s cleaning dirt and other debris that has accumulated in the tank, says Ron Jessen, director of Cenex® refined fuels marketing for CHS. That debris can be pumped into your equipment where it will cause engine build-up that leads to less-than-optimal performance and eventually can require expensive repairs. To reduce the risk, best practices call for fully cleaning out fuel tanks at least once per year and switching out filters each quarter.

Equally as important as getting rid of debris in your tank is keeping water out of your fuel supply. “Water is the natural enemy of fuel,” says Jessen.

Fuel contaminated with water can cause decreased acceleration, loss of horsepower and, in some cases, engine damage that spells costly downtime. Water in your fuel also allows for microbial growth to form inside your tanks and attack your fuel. Frosty springtime mornings add to risk with increased condensation.

Farmers can do a few things to mitigate water accumulation in fuel tanks, says Jessen. “Equipment today comes with water drain valves. As you prepare equipment for a busy growing season, use those valves to remove water from machinery, in addition to removing water from storage tanks regularly.”

There is one extra-easy way to minimize water  in your  equipment during the season, explains Jessen: “When you’re done working at the end of the day, take time to fill up the fuel tank. Condensation happens overnight — especially in spring weather — and reducing airspace by filling up your tank every day will reduce that risk.”

High-quality fuels deliver high-quality performance

As technology evolves, farm equipment and diesel engines are becoming more advanced and now, more efficient Tier 3 and Tier 4 engines are expected to pull large implements at high speeds during planting season. These newer engines have tighter tolerances for imperfections like dust, rust and other corrosive materials, making it especially important to protect engine components. A key way for farmers to maintain and get the most bang for their buck from their equipment is by investing in premium diesel fuel.

“Equipment keeps getting larger and farmers are planting more acres at a faster pace than ever before,” says Jessen. “Time during planting and harvest is of the essence.  The savings through fuel efficiency and additional horsepower with a premium diesel fuel will benefit any producer.”

The preparations you make for planting set the stage for the rest of the growing season. Don’t forget to add a fuel check-up to your equipment maintenance schedule. For more information on improving fleet operations or the value of premium diesel fuel, chat with our Energy Specialists to help figure out what is needed on your farm!

Orginal Source Cenex.com By: RON JESSEN  Director of product management and business development, Refined Fuels in FUEL EFFICIENCY

Propane for Alternate Purposes on Your Farm

By Kim Leisner 

Propane is largely known for heating our homes, drying our corn and running forklifts at your local warehousing facility

But did you know that you can run your car or truck with propane?

Propane burns much cleaner which keeps maintenance costs down, while efficiently fueling your engine.  The Wisconsin Propane Gas Association is currently offering a $1,000 incentive to assist with the conversion to propane from gasoline or diesel.  Call your local Energy Sales Person for more details on this great opportunity.  Please click on the link below to hear what others have to say about using propane on their vehicles.

Click Here to Watch Video

Read more about our Propane Services

Make the Switch: Propane-Powered School Buses

By: MATT KUMM, CHS propane marketing manager in PROPANE

Most people can’t tell from simply glancing at one as it passes down the road, but propane auto-gas school buses are becoming increasingly popular in communities across the country. Today, there are more than 11,000 propane school buses operating in the United States. Each year, more communities are making the switch as school officials continue to look for ways to cut emissions, provide healthier environments for students and save costs wherever possible.

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Three Considerations When Purchasing Used Equipment

used equipment

 

Equipment can be one of the most expensive investments you can make for your business. And with today’s lower grain/milk prices and tighter budgets, many farmers are considering used machinery as an alternative to buying new. However, the hours logged on a piece of machinery are not always a reliable indicator of the health of the engine. Below, are listed three considerations that may help you make a final decision when you are in the market for “new-used” equipment.

  1. Get an oil analysis.
    Potential buyers can look for leaks and damage when inspecting used machinery, but even if a piece of equipment looks good on the outside, it’s harder to tell the condition under the hood. That’s where an oil analysis can be a valuable tool for the buyer. It is like a blood test for a machine’s engine, transmission and hydraulic systems. The cost of an oil analysis kit ($15 to $25) is minimal considering the valuable insights it can provide on a machine that likely costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy.
  1. Consider the age of the engine and the fuel it’ll need. (more…)

Insurance for Your Equipment

By Kim Liesner, Energy Sales Manager

As a teenager, I would say that I like to take chances and live life on the edge!  I stayed out to late, never wore a seat belt, drove way too fast, ate pizza for breakfast, this list could go on and on!  Over the years, I realized that these were not my wisest decisions, especially the pepperoni pizza at 6 am, can you say heartburn.  Now that I am a parent, homeowner and generally responsible adult a lot of things have changed.  I have become more aware of what it takes to protect myself.  I keep my cash in the bank, not under my mattress, I always buckle up and I am adamant about making sure my homeowner and car insurance is always valid.

Now that we are all responsible adults, I am sure you can relate.

But I must ask this question; you insure your home, you insure your pick- up truck, your boat, you even carry life insurance, but what about your equipment?  I’m sure we can all agree that corn and milk prices could be better.  With a lower income coming in, what kind of a financial hardship would a blown engine on your 2013 JD S680 cause for you and your family?  Tractors and Combines are huge investments, and you need to protect this investment, just like you would protect your home from a fire or your vehicle from a crash!

cenex-tppIn an effort to help put your mind at ease, CHS Larsen Cooperative is proud to offer the Cenex Total Protection Plan (TPP) on new and used Farm equipment.  When you use Ruby Fieldmaster Diesel Fuel and Cenex lubricants, you get up to 10 years or 10,000 hours of engine and transmission coverage.

Think of it as a no-fault insurance policy- one that helps keep you in the field when you need to be there.  There is no deductible and no burden of proof, which can really pay off and help keep things moving during crunch times like harvest season!

Whether you buy new or used equipment, you simply will not find a better more economical way to protect your investment.

For more information, please contact the Energy Salesperson in your area

Kim Leisner, Sales Manager (north of GB) 920-598-1215

Dawn Matzke, CES (south of GB) 920-562-6902

Kyle, CES (west of Shawano) 715-340-3561

© 2018 CHS Inc.