Propane and natural gas are the primary heating fuels used by commercial poultry growers across Alabama and the southeastern broiler belt. Heating fuel is often a significant portion of the farm’s variable expenses, and we’ve been hearing reports about the expectations of higher prices this winter.
So, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) encourages poultry producers to pay attention to price changes and trends in the propane and natural gas markets to better prepare for these large expense outlays that may or may not coincide with flock settlement payments. This knowledge must be combined with long range local weather forecasts and matched up with the current flock cycle. ACES notes for a producer foresee this gives them the opportunity to take steps to secure ample supply of the lowest-priced heating fuel possible in the short-term. In addition to this, glycol reclamation should also be taken into consideration, which is the combined process by which adverse environmental effects of surface mining are minimized and mined lands are returned to a beneficial end use. End uses may be open space, wildlife habitat, agriculture, or residential and commercial development.
There are various steps you can take, with the first one being proper emergency budgeting. The second way to lessen fuel cost risk is by forward contracting or forward purchasing fuel. The most secure way to reduce the risk of rising heating fuel prices is to purchase fuel during lower-cost periods, and hold the physical fuel on site at the farm.
Learn more about preparing for propane and natural gas needs this winter on the ACES website.