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Heat on the Farm – What’s the cost?

November 7, 2014

Woody-Biomass Hand

In light of Minnesota’s loss of the Cochin Pipeline, which just happened to supply 38% of the state’s propane, many ag producers are considering propane alternatives or locking in LP prices now.

Fortunately, there are available resources to help farmers decide the best ways to heat their barns.  Penn State University Extension developed a nice Energy Cost Comparison Tool to help farmers decide on fuel sources.

Iowa State Extension also has a Liquid Fuel Measurements & Conversions chart so farmers can calculate their thermal load in Btus (British thermal units) and determine which fuel or technology would best suit their needs.  Hint: If available, woody biomass is cheaper than propane and solar thermal is a smart investment.Liquid Fuel Measurements

Folks at The MN Project also suggest farmers take a look at solar hot water or solar hot air technologies and the Made-in-Minnesota rebates for companies like Solar Skies and Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.  These technologies are proven and provide a nice hedge against propane costs because, ahem, solar energy is free.

Solar Spill

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