e.alleg wrote:Blaschak and Reading both produce rice coal and I don't think they plan on running out (and going out of business) any time soon.
You're missing the point. All the breakers make rice coal but its the most popular size. 45 to 50% of my customers burned rice coal. They don't specifically make sizes. They crack it and get what they get, then they screen it and get X amount of each size. To "make" rice coal they have to crush up larger sizes like pea coal but they don't like to do that because of the expense. First it has to be re-crushed and re-screened, you're also "making" a lot of sizes smaller than rice that do not carry the premium price. e.g you're crushing up a product that is perfectly salable that commands the same price or nearly the same price as rice to partially make one that is not. The incentive to make rice is not all that great, and if they start doing that the price for the rice is going to rise dramatically.
The smaller sizes like Barley they can sell which is the next size down from rice and that is usually 10 to 15% cheaper than the rice. The next size down is practically dirt which is sold to different customers like those that use it for filtration but you don't get the premium price for it.
As I mentioned in the other thread rice becomes a problem near the end of the winter especially during cold snaps and that's an issue now before all these people started buying these stoves. Generally at this point in time breakers are stock piling coal. The guy that delivered my coal said there isn't much there at all and usually at this point in time they'd have 500 ton laying there at least. The one year they had so much coal laying there they were running out room and had to knock some banks down to make more room.
FYI the Keystoker boilers burn buck, I think my brother has a ka-6 and that's all he uses.
There is a temoprary issue with bulk Rice
This should not be an issue at all at this time of the year. It's only going to get worse. Most people don't start ordering their coal until the end of August.
Usually they start trickling in at this point and then it snowballs from there until the start of November where it evens out.
Having said all that you also have to remember that those stock piles provide a buffer for when the breaker is shut down. Most breakers will stop running when the temps drop down below 10 to 20 degrees. No stock pile no coal.
Edit: Let me put it to you this way, there is more people using this site now than there was in this past fall and winter. This place was ghost town at this time of the year 2 years ago, you'd be lucky if there was a few posts a day and a few people online. The traffic right now compared to last year at this time is 5X what it was and that was surprisingly good then.