Below is a list of tips to help you save energy on your operation. For more information, visit our Conservation Links.
Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for maintenance on vehicles. Changing the fuel and air filters in tractors can increase power by 3.5% or more and save about 100 gallons of fuel over a 500 hour period.
Frequently check tire pressure on tractors and other self-propelled farm equipment for proper inflation. Both under and over inflation can increase the amount of fuel used.
To reduce fuel loss from evaporation in large storage tanks, store tanks in a shady area, paint them a light color and seal them with a pressure-relief vacuum cap.
Fill any holes and cracks in outer and inner walls of facilities with caulk, or, for larger holes, use expanding foam. Make sure the area is sufficiently warm; caulk will not flow or adhere well if extremely cold.
Caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors can reduce heat loss in those areas by up to 37%.
Make sure insulation in attics, walls and floors is adequate (6” for walls and floors, 12” for attics).
Reduce the heat when possible. Decreasing the heat just 5 degrees can save up to 21% on your heating bill.
Consider using used motor oil from your farm equipment to run oil-fired heaters for shops and other buildings.
Used engine and hydraulic oil can be filtered (5 micron filter or smaller) and used as a fuel in diesel engines. Start by blending 90% diesel and 10% oil. Larger quantities of oil can be used with proper filtration and preheating. If your tractor is under warranty, check with engine manufacturer to make sure using oil will not void warranty.
Maintain heating system by regularly changing filters and have the system serviced. Also, make sure heating systems and structures are properly vented.
In dairy barns, insulate the hot water supply pipes running through areas that are not insulated, and cover the hot water heater to avoid heat loss. For electric heaters use an insulating blanket, for gas water heaters, follow instructions on the water heater insulation packaging.
Heated watering tanks for livestock should be equipped with lids; 60-80% of heat loss comes from missing lids or lids that are not tight. Also, make sure the foundation of the tank is sealed tightly and the thermostat is set between 32-35 degrees.
Make sure the thermostat on your engine is working properly. Most engines run the best between 165-180 degrees. An engine running at 100 degrees will use 25% more fuel.
Minimize tractor idling. A 75-horsepower diesel tractor left idling for just 10 minutes a day will burn 31 gallons of fuel over the space of a year.
Install timers or motion censors on exterior yard lighting so lights are only in use when necessary.
For interior facilities, use white surfaces where possible. White reflects light, which will reduce the amount of light needed in the space.
Avoid unnecessary trips to the field by using cell phones or other devices to communicate work that needs to be done.
Operate your tractor at the recommended speed.
Practicing good nutrient management in your crop operation can save time and money. Start by testing your soil to determine the optimal amount of nitrogen fertilizer (influenced by natural gas costs) necessary. Make sure to time application for optimal results. Also, consider animal manure when possible.
Install an electric block heater and timer on equipment to warm the engine in cold weather. It is cheaper to warm engines with electricity than fuel.
Layout your travel pattern for working a field to minimize turns and keep the track on a level path. Also, coordinate fieldwork with livestock grazing to reduce the amount of idling while changing gates.
Gear up and throttle down. On average, draw bar load on farm tractors is only run at 50% capacity. For partial loads, gearing up and throttling down, reducing engine speed (rpm) can reduce fuel use. An Iowa study showed a decrease of 5%-15% at 75% power, and 15%-30% reduced fuel for 50% power.
Replace fluorescent fixtures with T-12 lamps with T-8 or T-F fixtures and electronic ballasts.
Change incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs.
In irrigation, use large diameter pipes (12” instead of 10”) to reduce friction and make sure your pump and motor match. Over sizing wastes money and energy.
Make sure your irrigation system is in good working order, including replacing nozzles and regulators. This will ensure even crop growth, save energy and decrease the amount of water used.