61°F
Sponsored by

Poultry Farmers Feel Impact of Propane Price Hike

CRANE, Mo. -- Poultry farmers are among those hardest hit by the recent rise in propane prices. With a frigid cold winter, many are struggling to keep their chicks warm.
CRANE, Mo. -- Poultry farmers are among those hardest hit by the recent rise in propane prices.

With a frigid cold winter, many are struggling to keep their chicks warm.

Poultry Farmer Ray Dean Rowe burned around 22,000 gallons of propane last January.  This year, he says he's already burned twice that.

"It's affected us tremendously," Rowe says.

Rowe grows millions of birds for Tyson Foods.

"It's my duty to provide heat, electricity and water to take care of them," he says.

The recent spike in propane prices, though, isn't making that easy.

"We are still trying to keep the birds at their maximum growth rate," Rowe says.  "But the cost has increased up to 500 percent in certain weeks."

There are around 500,000 chicks inside each chicken house.  There are 18 chicken houses, and each requires propane.  The chicken houses are initially set at 92 degrees, then the temperature slowly drops until the chickens go out. 

"We are looking at anything we can do to save on that propane," Rowe says.  "Because we aren't going to make it unless we do."

Rowe says in his 20 years as a poultry farmer, he's never seen propane prices this high.

"I've had situations where the prices have increased," he says.  "We thought it was terrible when it was at $1.80.  We have never seen it at $4, not even close."

While Rowe is hopeful and predicts the nicer weather will bring a decrease in propane prices, he knows not to count his chickens before they hatch.

"My biggest concern is, I know this will hurt me this year, but how far will propane come back down?  You know, is it gonna stay around $2 and $3, or where will it level out at?"  Rowe says.  "I'm afraid it will never level back down.  This never should've happened, there should've never been a shortage."

Rowe says he usually has a contract with a company but when he called in June, the company said it wasn't contracting propane this year.

He adds that last year, he never had to buy propane during the month of January because he had enough in stock.

He says some poultry farmers are turning to wood pellet furnaces, but tells us those are harder to use.
   
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus