By The Associated Press

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) -- With the wet grain being harvested in South Dakota this year comes another problem: a spike in the demand for propane to dry it.

Wet grain must be dried before it can be stored or mold will form. Some Yankton-area farmers are trying to avoid elevator drying costs by using on-farm drying. For many, that means lots of propane.

One South Dakota propane dealer says counterparts in Iowa and Illinois are looking for supplies in South Dakota because they are out.

The shortages started about two weeks ago, about the same time farmers were getting the harvest under way.

Daron Schenk of Tri-County Propane in Irene said the Enterprise Pipeline went on allocation about two weeks ago. On such a program, the pipeline, which services many Iowa and South Dakota dealers, allows only so many loads a week to its dealers.

"All the eastern dealers came west, and that makes it rough on us because they empty out our tanks," Schenk said.

Once the harvest has ended, so will the propane shortage, he said. But for now, Schenk is keeping his storage tank full.

"Right now, there's a 10- to 20-hour wait sometimes," he said.

"It's not just us -- it's Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota -- everybody's wet. It could be a little tough to get propane right away."

Schenk said he keeps a close eye on the weather forecast to gauge what's in store for supplies.

"When harvest is over, I think we'll be fine," he said.

Current end-user prices for propane in the area are about $1.42 per gallon.


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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