Propane Crop Flaming Once Again A Popular Choice

Visitors to California Farm Show 2000 to See Demonstrations of Flame Weeding


February 8, 2000

Tulare, CA-Propane crop flaming is making a comeback across the United States as the popularity of organic farming increases, weeds and insects develop immunities to various chemicals and members of the farming community learn more about the cost benefits of this weed and insect-eradicating technique. The Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) and the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) are currently providing the farming community with information about the merits of this time-tested method.

Propane crop flaming is a cost-effective way of removing unwanted weeds and insects from acres of farmland without the use of chemicals. When a weed is exposed to enough heat to vaporize the water in its plant cells, the plant experiences cellular explosion, destroying its photosynthesis capabilities. As the flame passes through the row, staying at least 2 inches away from the crop, there is very little smoke because the weeds are green and propane is a clean burning fuel. Shortly after flaming, the weed will wither and die, opening the crop to sunlight and growth.

As a part of their educational outreach, the Council and the NPGA are giving propane crop flaming demonstrations at the California Farm Equipment Show and International Exposition in Tulare, CA. On Wednesday, February 9 at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM and Thursday, February 10 at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, thousands of visitors will see how flame cultivation works and the clean manner in which it rids fields of unwanted weeds. Additionally, an exhibit sponsored by the Council and the NPGA will feature other pieces of propane-fueled equipment such as propane trucks, heaters, hand-held torches, dryers, ranges, grills, fireplaces, tanks and dispensing systems.

'I count on propane to help produce the best crop we possibly can,' says Kurt Quade of Greenway Organic Farms in Five Points, CA. 'The best thing about propane crop flaming technology is that it works even in damp or wet soil.'

'Propane crop flaming meets the needs of many American farmers because it is a cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative,' says Propane Education & Research Council President Roy Willis. A Texas A&M study showed that, on average, flame weeding costs approximately $3.50 per acre for each application, compared to the $15.00 - $18.00 per-acre cost of each application of many commonly used chemicals. The University of California at Davis has done and continues to conduct extensive research on crop flaming because of the economic and environmental benefits it offers the California farming industry. 'As people learn more about the benefits of propane crop flaming, this time-tested technology begins to look very attractive,' adds Willis. By substituting a flame for a chemical application, farmers not only save money, but they also limit the resistance plants and insects build up against chemicals.

There are more than 600,000 farms nationwide that rely on propane because it is clean, efficient and affordable. In addition to crop flaming, propane can heat barns, run generators, power irrigation systems and dry crops. With such a wide variety of applications, farmers can use propane as their chief fuel source. And knowing its reliability, life on the farm can be made a little easier.

The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source.

For more information about the Propane Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit the website

NPGA is the national trade association for the U.S. propane gas industry. With a membership of more than 3,800 companies in all 50 states, 38 affiliated state or regional associations, and members in 28 foreign countries, NPGA represents every segment of the propane industry. Over 90 percent of the United States' propane supply is produced domestically, and 60 million Americans choose propane as their energy source.