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Updated: 8th October 2018 16:03

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Grain drying putting pinch on propane industry

Demand for propane has risen “drastically” due to the number of farmers drying their grain, according to a leading supplier.

Grain coming off the field damp forcing farmers to use more energy to dry it

The propane industry is unable to handle the current demand due to an increased need for grain drying. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Demand for propane has risen "drastically" in the prairie provinces due to the number of farmers drying their grain, according to a leading supplier.

Keith Morin, director of propane for Federated Co-operatives Limited, said the entire industry is unable to handle the current demand.

"The semi drivers are lined up for four to six hours at gas plants or terminals," he said in a statement emailed to CBC. "After that we have been so busy it has been impossible to keep up.

"We have moved delivery trucks around from branches and hired more drivers, but we can't keep pace with all of the orders coming in."

According to Morin, Co-op sold two-and-a-half times more propane than the 10-year average in September in the Melfort, Sask. area.

Lake Country Co-op posted this warning to Facebook regarding the high demand for propane and the wait times that producers may have to deal with. (Facebook/Lake Country Co-op)

"We are doing everything we can to service our customers, but we realize they are frustrated with the situation," Morin continued. "We will continue to do our best to help out our farm customers.

"We know this is already a tough harvest for many of them."

Grain drying has been a vital part of harvest for many farmers this year due to rain and snow. The grain that has been combined has been far more damp than what is usually acceptable for the market.

A spokesperson for Co-op said Melfort is the busiest area this year, but the company has also been busy with grain drying at the Saskatoon, Yorkton and Meadlow Lake branches.

In Alberta, the company is busy at the Edmonton and Grassland branches.

And in Manitoba, the Brandon, Winnipeg and Carmen branches are extremely busy with drying, but more for corn drying than cereal grains.

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