Plan now for fall fuel needs

July 25, 2023
Bulk fuel tank monitoring and automated delivery services can ease stress and ensure a consistent fuel supply during peak seasonal demands.

Refined fuels supplies and prices have remained volatile since spring 2020. Zach St. Aubin, refined fuels specialist with CHS, says that while conditions have settled a bit, there are risks that farmers should consider as they manage their fuel consumption this fall.

Refined fuels challenges

Fuel production cuts overseas, refinery maintenance in the U.S. and historic five-year low inventory levels contributed to supply issues last spring, St. Aubin says. Some of those conditions are likely to continue into the busy harvest season.

“Heading into the fall, we expect fuel prices to remain elevated and quite volatile due to production and logistics challenges. Driver shortages and increased truck maintenance costs will complicate access to refined fuel products as well,” he explains.

Fuel buyers can take steps to ensure a steady fuel supply through the fall harvest season by auditing their on-farm fuel use. “Look at on-site bulk fuel storage to determine if an investment in larger tanks is practical. Having four days of storage capacity during your busiest timeframe is a good benchmark. If you’re drawing 250 gallons of fuel from your bulk refined fuel tank per day throughout harvest, we recommend having a 1,000-gallon bulk tank on site,” St. Aubin says.

Tank monitoring and automated fuel delivery

Another way to minimize fuel supply interruptions is to enroll in tank monitoring or automated fuel delivery programs.

“CHS and your local cooperative are committed to keeping your operation running smoothly by offering bulk tank monitoring and automated fuel delivery. These programs ensure farmers have adequate fuel supplies on hand during peak demand times,” St. Aubin says.

“Automated fuel delivery also saves time. There’s no need to monitor fuel gauges, make calls or schedule deliveries. That workflow is streamlined with tank monitoring and automated delivery services.”.

The CHS automated delivery program also includes benefits such as deferred billing and monthly average pricing to help manage price volatility risk.

“With deferred billing, farmers only pay for the fuel they use during a 30-day window,” says St. Aubin. This helps keep more cash on hand and allows farmers to take advantage of monthly average pricing to manage volatility.”

Green tractor parked in front of bulk fuel storage tanks