Propane prices are creeping slightly higher in Iowa as farmers prepare for the harvest and drying their grain.

Paul Ovrum an ag marketing specialist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the corn harvest will likely begin earlier in parts of southern Iowa this fall due to continued drought. He says those early birds could impact propane prices for the good.

“As they start harvesting earlier, that may relieve some of the pressure that happens typically later in the fall when everybody’s harvesting at once,” Ovrum says. “If it’s spread out a little more, that may lessen demand on supplies in Iowa.” Lesser demand typically means lower prices. Still, foreign markets are helping to drive up propane costs, according to Ovrum.

“We have seen, since late 2016, a steady increase in demand for propane overseas from U.S. supplies,” Ovrum says. “So, as the U.S. manufactures propane, a lot of that, more and more, is going overseas and that has increased prices here.”

Propane is averaging $1.26 a gallon in Iowa, up about 13-cents a gallon from a year ago. It’s estimated 67% of Iowans use natural gas to heat their homes, 15% use electricity and 14% use liquid propane.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)