Take Action During & After Snowstorms

This winter continues to dump snow all over Wisconsin. We as your propane provider are doing everything we can to keep your propane tanks full and safe!

As a home or business owner we also ask that you do your part to keep your propane equipment safe. To the left you can read some great actionable items to ensure your safety this winter.

Please pay close attention to the last tip about keeping clear driveways and pathways to propane tanks! This is extremely important as our delivery drives need to be able to get to your tanks.

If you’d like to view the entire “Safeguarding Your Home for Winter” document you can do so by going to propane.com

If you are unsure of any safety issues with your propane please feel free to contact our customer services reps at 866-455-7200.

Covering Your Energy Needs for 2019

To contract or not to contract, that is the question…or is the real question, when to contract or at what price to contract?  These things can lead to a lot of stress, not only for the consumer, but for the energy consultant too.  Over the years I have developed a strategy that helps answer some of these questions and alleviate the stress associated with planning out your annual energy budget. Let’s look at some of the tools that have helped me assist my customers with making educated decisions.

Recently, I spoke with a customer who has contracted for the past 15 years, though he feels contracting is usually a good option, he still remembers the time about 6 years ago when he locked in and the market tanked.  His contract ended up being higher priced than the local market. This made him feel like he “lost”. I reminded him that other years his contract price was lower than the local market, so I guess you could say that he “won” during those years.  I am not a huge fan of the “winning/losing” outlook. Customers will actually benefit more from a contract if they use it to set their budget for the year.  When contracting time comes around and someone is ready to lock in their pricing for the year, I ask them a few questions:

  • Is this a price you feel comfortable with? 
  • Will this price work with your annual budget?  If not, what price will?
  • Do you have a target we should be looking at?

Then question of when is a good time? Again, I look at historical pricing.  Below is a chart that shows the highest/lowest offered pricing for over the past 20 years.  Click here to see historical pricing. As you can see, fuel pricing tends to be at a lower level Dec-Feb.  Though, this may not always be the “winner”, it is a great tool to utilize when making buying decisions.  FYI: the best contract price offered last year was 2/14/18, but the best retail price was offered in March 2018.  So, this is not perfect, but it gives us a darn good idea of when; not to lock in futures pricing.

My suggestion is to talk to your local energy consultant and clearly explain your needs for the upcoming year.  Together, you can come up with a plan for your spring/fall 2019 fuel needs.  Again, I want to stress that locking in your fuel supply is not about winning or losing, but focusing on setting a budget for the upcoming season.  My final advice that I give to all of my customers is DON’T LOOK BACK!  What I mean by that is; after you decide to lock in your fuel price at a value that works for you and your business, don’t drive yourself crazy by watching the market and constantly second guessing yourself and the decision you made.  Please feel confident that you made a good decision and though pricing may or may not drop lower, you are going to be OK and a few extra pennies per gallon either way will not make or break your business.

By Kim Leisner, Energy Sales Manager

Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels

 

With the cold weather settling in, it is time to start thinking about winter diesel fuel. Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel product line offers broad coverage to meet your unique needs  – from moderate temperatures to extreme winter cold and everything in between.

Our full line up of Cenex® Winterized Premium Diesel Fuels includes:

Cenex Wintermaster® Winterized Premium Diesel is formulated with an operability of –30° F and a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of –55° F. Cenex Wintermaster® is specifically formulated for the demands of diesel powered equipment in the most extreme winter conditions.

Cenex Roadmaster XL® and Ruby Fieldmaster® Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels are formulated for moderate climates and provide outstanding shoulder season flexibility. Cenex Seasonally Enhanced Premium Diesel Fuels deliver a typical cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of -25° F.

#1 Diesel Fuel with Cenex Premium Diesel Fuel Additive is used to blend down your Cenex® Premium Diesel Fuel tanks during transition from summer to fall/winter, helping ensure additives remain at proper levels. Ideal for blending down bulk tanks, retail fueling site tanks and customer storage tanks. Contact our energy specialist today with any questions.

Originally posted on “In the Know” CHS

2019 Cenex® Gift Card for Gallons Promotion

 

The Gift card for lubricant gallons promotion is back again this year starting on November 1, 2018. For every 125 gallons of qualifying Cenex® lubricants you purchase from CHS Larsen Co-op from November 1, 2018, through February 29, 2019, you will receive a $50.00 Visa gift card. Better yet, there is no limit to the gallons you can buy during this four month promotion period or the number of Visa gift cards you can earn. Listed below are the qualifying Cenex® lubricants that are eligible (most commonly needed products). Plus, greases are also eligible towards the 125 gallon threshold.

Qualifying Products:

Maxtron® DEO Synthetic Blend Diesel Engine oil

Maxtron® Enviro-Edge® Full Synthetic Diesel Engine Oil

Superlube TMS® Conventional Diesel Engine oil

Maxtron® GL Full Synthetic EP Gear lubricant

Maxtron® THF+ Full Synthetic Tractor Hydraulic Fluid

MP Gear Lube

Qwiklift® HTB® Hydraulic Fluid

 

Greases:

Blueguard® 500+

HD Moly Extreme

Maxtron® EP

Maxtron® FS

ML365®

Molyplex 500+

Poly Extreme®

Red Protect®

Fluid Gear Grease

For more information or to place a lubricant order please call your Energy Specialist today. CHS Larsen Co-Op thanks you for allowing us to be your Cenex® lubricants supplier.

Now is the Perfect Time to Change Lubricants in Your Equipment

 

As we enter the end of October, harvest is in full swing in many parts of Wisconsin. As field work comes to an end in the November and December it’s time to think preparing for putting equipment away for the winter. With new technologies in oil and other lubricants, we are seeing higher hour thresholds and thus longer drain intervals for such things as engine oil, transmission, and hydraulic oils/fluids. Many farmers are now experiencing just one oil change per year and topping off other lubricants as needed in season.

Many manufacturers of farm equipment and accessories are recommending that oil/lubricant changes take place when the equipment is being put away for the winter. The reason for this is twofold; first, it is important to make sure all that old and worn out lubricants are pulled out of the engines, transmissions, braking, hydraulic, and gear areas so the acids/dirt do not sit on metal parts over winter, possibly causing corrosion or other damage. Second, new oil and lubricants, with their full load of protective additive ingredients, will not only protect the metals, seals, and other parts, but add full lubrication protection over winter/extended periods of inactivity, aiding in start-up come next spring. Think of this as applying a protective layer of lubricant on all metal parts before the cold Wisconsin winter and months of inactivity occur.

Because of these manufacturer recommendations to change oil and other lubricants in the late fall/early winter, CHS and Cenex® have a bulk lubricant program in place called the Gift Cards for Gallons lubricant program. This program takes place from November 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019, for delivery of the most requested oil, lubricants, and grease needed for farm and heavy duty equipment. This program not only allows you to get engine oils and lubes when you need them after the harvest season is completed; but, also gets you ready for spring and eliminates the annual road bans on deliveries come March and April. Talk to your local CHS Larsen Certified Energy Specialist for more details on this gift card program and how you can earn a Visa $50 gift card for every 125 gallons of lubricant and grease products purchased during the promotional period. Combine high quality Cenex® lubricants and the Cenex Total Protection® Warranty program (TPP) and you are set to protect the internal parts of the machines that power your farm operation.

Written by: Todd Plath, CES

Keeping Your Engines Protected is Our Top Priority

Protecting you Equipment from Wisconsin’s extreme winter temperatures

 

As the days get shorter and the nights grow colder, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your equipment from Wisconsin’s extreme winter temperatures.

CHS Larsen Co-op has already started the process of planning for winter.  Approximately a week ago we added the WA4 additive to our Cenex® Ruby FieldMaster® and RoadMaster® fuel.  For a few extra cents per gallon the WA4 cold flow improver gives you a slightly higher operability range than our standard fuel. It’s perfect for this time of year, when temps can range anywhere from 25 to 70 degrees.

Thanksgiving and deer season will soon be upon us, and so will be the switch to Our Cenex® Ruby FieldMaster® and RoadMaster® SE (Seasonally Enhanced).  SE was formulated to provide excellent coverage for the end of fall/beginning of winter, with a cold filter plugging point (CFPP) of -25 degrees.

But, as anyone that lives in Wisconsin knows, we need more protection than the SE once winter actually hits.  When it gets cold, I mean really cold, like nose freezing shut/hurts to breath kind of cold; we need a fuel blend that will keep us going.  Everybody knows, the world doesn’t stop turning because it’s -30 degrees outside and we don’t stop either.  That is why Cenex® created WinterMaster®!

Cenex® WinterMaster® gives us operability of -30 degrees with a CFPP of -55 degrees.  With a 70/30 blend of #1 & #2, this is the final step we take to ensure that we are ready for whatever winter can throw at us.

If you are wondering what formulation is right for you and at what times you should make the switch to winter fuels, please call your Energy Sales Representative today.

Winter Master Road Master XL 

Written by: Kim Leisner, Energy Sales Manager

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program

As the leaves fall and the cooler weather sets in, preparing for winter moves up on our “to do” lists.  Many of us prepare by giving our snow blowers a tune up, putting away our summer wardrobe and get the sweaters & vests out of storage, maybe installing a snow fence.

How many of us are tasked with having to prepare financially for winter?  Maybe not you, but someone you know could be struggling with having to decide whether to pay their heating bill or buy groceries.  Many of our parents & grandparents are going without crucial medication in order to pay their heating bill.

If you or someone you know is struggling to make ends meet in the winter, please know that there is help. The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program or WHEAP is available and they are now taking applications for the 2018/2019 heating season.

Please follow this link for contact information and income guidelines or call 1-866-HEATWIS.  CHS Larsen Cooperatives energy department has worked with WHEAP for many years and We will be happy to assist in any way we can.

 

Do You have Enough Fuel to get Through Harvest?

Harvest time is upon us, as independent businessman in the Agricultural industry there are so many things to worry about during harvest season.

Do I have enough employees? Do I have enough equipment? Will I have any breakdowns? Will I get a good price for my corn/beans?

One worry that may sometimes not be on the forefront is fuel supply.  Do I have enough fuel on the farm to get through the next few days… or the week?  Typical rule of thumb for tank capacity on the farm is: have enough fuel to last four days during peak usage.

For instance, you use an average of 12,000 gallons of off road diesel fuel during harvest. Your average harvest lasts three weeks, you should have at least 2,000-2,500 gallons of off road diesel fuel storage on the farm.

12,000 gallons (divided by) 21 days = 571 gallons per day

571 gallons (x) 4 days = 2284 total capacity

Understandably, this is not always an easy or financially feasible task.  Though we would always like to see someone increase their total storage on the farm for many reasons, we too understand this can’t always happen.  What we do ask though, is that you communicate with us before, during and when you are finished combining, chopping, hauling manure, etc.  It is as simple as a phone call to your local energy rep. Please just give us a few days notice when you are going to start your peak usage and then let us know when you have finished. This gives our delivery drivers some time to prepare and set up a game plan to keep you full.   We will also be touching base during peak usage, just to see if any adjustments need to be made.  I really believe that with proper communication, your fuel supply should not be a worry!

*Quick note* if you are wondering about the benefits of adding fuel storage capacity on the farm, please call one of our Energy Reps and we would be happy to meet with you and go over the financial benefits involved in increasing your storage!

 

Is Contracting Your Fuel for Spring/Fall Really that Important?

 

Do I really need to contract? When is the right time to contract? How do I know if I’m getting a good price? Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price?

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion and even a slight bit of controversy over the subject of fuel contracting on the farm. Let me tell you this, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. I honestly don’t know if these are even the questions you want to be asking yourself when thinking about contracting.

Since last year at this time crude oil has risen almost 50%, and most of our commodities have followed suit. I remember a few years back; when OPEC signed their 1st production cut agreement, speculators were calling for $65-$70/barrel crude. At the time, that seemed pretty far fetched. Back then, the norm was about $45/barrel- and there really wasn’t a whole lot of volatility. Well, it may have taken two years, but today’s crude oil value is $68.50, And it seems to be pretty darn comfortable in that spot! Anyone that locked in last winter when crude was $10-$15 barrel lower, for 2018 spring/fall did pretty well (so far!).

We have also witnessed it go the opposite direction. 2013-2014, led way to all time crude oil highs, we saw crude rise up to over $100/barrel. This frightened many and we all locked in, maybe a bit early (Sept./Oct.) for the following Spring. By the time planting came around, the energy markets tanked and we saw crude oil; basically in the clearance aisle, down 50%. When this kind of stuff happens, it stings…for a long time! But, I will tell you this, although diesel prices dropped to more than $1 lower than most customers lock in, we all survived. Why? Because we budgeted for the original contract price. Did that make it sting any less, no…but again, we all survived and lived to see another crazy season.

So, let’s go back to the original questions:
Do I really need to contract? That depends, how bad will it hurt you, financially if diesel spikes up over $1+ higher than current pricing?

Does contracting give you piece of mind? Do you like to gamble? When is the right time to contract? There is no right or wrong time to contract. Historically, pricing is at it’s best between December & March…but history doesn’t always repeat itself! Leaning on your energy sales consultant is the best idea.

How do I know if i’m getting a good price? What is a good price? The question you really need to ask yourself is, does this price work with my annual budget? In other words, can I spend this much for fuel and still make a profit?

Why is the price of the contract higher than today’s price? Contract prices can sometimes be higher than the current rack price (not always) because we are buying futures. With futures there is always a risk, and risky behavior comes with a higher price-tag.

Speculation of the futures markets can also wreak havoc on contract pricing- will there be supply issues in spring/fall? Will there be a bumper crop and cause higher demand for fall? Will OPEC make more production cuts this year? These types of conversations will definitely raise eyebrows and lock in pricing!

Back to the question of “Is contracting your fuel important?” Yes it is, but it is not the best option for everyone. Only you can make that decision if contracting is right for you.

One statement I make to my customers: don’t look back. What I mean by that is, if you lock in your fuel at a price you are happy with, stop shopping for a lower price. There is always going to be a lower price, but there is also going to be a higher price. For your own piece of mind, lock it in and forget about it-don’t look back -you might trip over something in front of you!

Omro Fire Department Hosts Emergency Response Fire Training

The Omro Fire Dept., in partnership with the Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council (WiPERC), hosted an emergency response, live propane fire training on Monday, August 13, 2018. Approximately 50 fire fighters from the Omro Fire Dept. and surrounding areas were in attendance.  At times during the training, area residents may have seen flames shooting 20 feet or more into the air.  Local media and other observers were welcome to watch.

The training consist of classroom instruction on the physical properties of propane and a hands-on portion that includes five fire scenarios including a grill, forklift, bulk tank, and propane terminal piping props. All hands-on training is overseen by Wisconsin certified fire instructors, FIRE LLC and is conducted in accordance with NFPA 1403. The Omro Fire Dept. is providing local coordination and the location for the training.  The WiPERC estimates the value of this training is $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of the group trained and the number of trainers required.

Propane was provided by CHS Larsen Cooperative, who is a WPGA member and participates in the propane industry check-off program, which provides the funding for this training.

“We were happy to be able to provide the propane for this training as we find great value in our local fire departments understanding the dangers and risks in propane safety,” said Pat Brosseau, CHS Larsen Co-op Energy Department Manager.

 The Wisconsin Propane Education & Research Council is the education foundation of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association (WPGA).

For more information on this program contact Emma Corning, WPGA/WiPERC Executive Director at emma@wipga.org or 608-210-3307.

© 2019 CHS Inc.