How to manage a tight fuel supply as harvest nears

September 13, 2022
There are several factors creating a tight diesel supply this year. Scott Svacina, vice president of refined fuels sales for CHS, describes how farmers can prepare to keep their operation running through the harvest season.

Everything from global events to domestic supply issues are impacting energy product availability  this year. Scott Svacina, vice president of refined fuel sales for CHS, urges farmers to consider how these events might impact their ability to access the supply of diesel fuel and propane they need to power through the harvest season.  

Understand market factors

“There’s a lot going on in the fuel industry that is tightening the supply of propane and diesel fuel. Exports are one factor impacting how much propane is available,” says Svacina. “There’s more propane going to Europe because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the industry moving away from using Russian products.”

Svacina also points to the smaller capacity of U.S. refineries. “Throughout the pandemic, a lot of refineries shut down and are no longer in operation. Many refineries also switched to making renewable diesel, which is a great product that we support, but it cuts down on the total yield a refinery can make. All these factors together lead to less supply overall for farmers.”

Be proactive ahead of harvest

Farmers can take steps ahead of harvest to ensure they have enough fuel for the season. Svacina advises that farmers make sure their tanks are full, talk to their local cooperative energy representative and make sure they have a plan to know what they’ll need ahead of harvest.

He also points out that while harvest is a busy time, evaluating on-site fuel storage should be a year-round job.

“Making sure your tank is sized right helps ensure that you’re going into the season full,” he says. “While you’re checking the size, it’s also important to determine how many fills you’re going to need and to plan with that volume in mind.”

Keep your equipment in check

Part of being proactive about fuel storage ahead of harvest is making sure storage equipment is ready for the challenge, Svacina says, including making sure fuel filters are clean and in place. It’s also crucial to remove any water that might be in fuel storage tanks, since most issues with stored fuel can be linked to moisture, including condensation getting into the storage system, says Svacina. “Using a product like Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster® premium diesel fuel can not only help clean the entire fuel system, but keep water from entering it in the first place.”