Wood Pellets in Wisconsin in Demand
In Wisconsin, our February snowfalls shattered previous records for the month, and as we begin March, we’re facing more measurable snowfall yet to come. It’s been colder than average too, so our wood pellet customers have their stoves fired up round the clock to supplement their other heat. For some, it’s their main source of heat in parts of their homes. All of this, plus a challenge for some pellet producers with getting a good supply of wood to make pellets, leads to the perfect conditions for an industry-wide shortage.
As we look ahead at the next two weeks on timeanddate.com for our area, it doesn't look like it's going to get a whole lot warmer, despite the first day of spring arriving soon.
Industry Pros Weigh In
According to Tim Portz, executive director of the Pellet Fuels Institute, “In nearly every conversation with our producer members, I’m hearing about strong pellet order activity all the way through the month. For some of our members, replenishment orders begin to level off in February and if the back half of the month has a warming trend, orders can slow dramatically. This year it seems clear that strong demand is likely to persist well into March and it looks like we’ll be rolling into the spring and summer inventory build-out playing a bit of catch up.”
Our Hay Creek Pellet team produces 40# bags of pellets year round. But despite having two production shifts running this year, we’re still working hard to deliver what our pellet distributors need. Hay Creek Companies President, Tom Gardner, said, “We are doing our best and trying to be as fair as possible.”
Portz said, “While this heating season delivered the prolonged periods of lower temperatures we all need, it also brought with it a variety of fiber bottlenecks. A prolonged mud season in the Northeast kept loggers out of the woods, logs out of sawmills, and dust and chips out of pellet plant woodyards.”
As soon as the snow melts, we’ll be working on production for the next heating season. We offer an early buy program for pellet dealers from April through July, so there won’t be any lag in production. The Vecoplan machine will be humming right into spring and through summer. Last year, we added a second crew and second shift to our pellet production line. We are grateful for their dedication to their work!
Trucks have delivered to some of our customers with the greatest demand for pellets. If your dealer is out of stock now, check with them to see if they are scheduled to receive a shipment soon.
Why Are Pellets in Demand?
Some new articles have speculated that rising cost of fuel oil and petroleum-based fuel sources has caused some people to install pellet stoves as a means of keeping heating costs lower. Plus the appeal of bioenergy has grown.
Pellet stoves are small electric stoves that burn small pieces of recycled sawdust that have been compressed into pellets. An auger feeds the pellets slowly into the burn pot, where heat from the burning wood pellets is sent into the room via a heat exchanger and blower. There are a number of advantages to using wood pellet stoves:
- They are efficient.
- They produce little waste.
- They use inexpensive fuel. A 40-pound bag of pellets provides about a day of heat on average.
We’re thankful for the patience of our distributors and their customers as we continue to meet the demand for bags of pellets. Thank you for trusting us with your heating source needs. We are also grateful for being able to use a portion of our pellet sales to support widows and orphans in India through Don Shire Ministries.