Alternative Heating Systems...an overview
Record high propane/natural gas prices over the last couple of years have lead a number of producers and poultry companies to explore the possibility of using some type of alternative fuel to provide heat to their poultry houses during cold weather. Though not commonly seen in the U.S. there are in fact a number of alternative heating systems on the market today that can be used to dramatically reduce a poultry producer’s dependence on propane. These systems range in price from less than $10,000 to well more than $60,000. Some alternative heating systems are relatively new to the poultry industry while others have been used to heat poultry houses for decades. There are systems which are totally automated requiring very little extra work of a producer while others are very labor and time intensive. The types of alternative fuels burned by these systems range from more traditional fuels such as coal and used motor oil to “biomass” fuel types such as corn, wood products, hay, peanut hulls, etc. Alternative heating systems can be an effective method of heating poultry houses but, they are very different from a traditional propane heating system and therefore there are many factors a producer needs to consider before investing in one.