|How to maximize your gasoline budget|
These days, the inputs you purchase are leaving your planter as your tractor's diesel churns. But, compared to other information, the gasoline you currently use can be used longer.
At seven ISU research and demonstration farms, Mark Hanna, an agricultural engineer with the Iowa State University (ISU) Extension, and other ISU researchers tested the efficiency of tractors. Here are some of the long- and short-term applications of the information they found.
Gear up and throttle down.
There is potential to reduce when a tractor is running at 2,200 rpm all the time, claims Hanna. When 100% drawbar power is not required, he advises gearing up and throttling to 1,600 to 1,800 rpm. This will reduce fuel consumption.
According to the ISU testing, a combination of low gear and high throttle increased fuel consumption over seven field operations by an average of 26%. Hanna advises gearing up and throttling down as an excellent way to reduce fuel costs.
Think about tillage fuel prices.Tillage has advantages. For instance, more than a foot of deep tillage can disperse compacted areas. Just be aware that it is expensive. For example, subsoiling activities can cost 2.3 to 2.7 gallons of fuel per acre at a depth of 14 to 16 inches.
Hanna advises, "Be smart about why you are doing it; I'm not advocating to do no-tillage. Although no-tillers may or may not provide higher yields, tillage is expensive, so using less of it gives you a competitive advantage.
Depth of tillageThe more gasoline is consumed, the deeper you till. The ISU researchers correlated fuel consumption with tillage depth across several disking and field cultivator trips, and their findings supported that. Fuel use was reduced from 7% to 41% by field cultivation at 3 inches compared to 412 inches and disking at 4 inches compared to 6 inches.
ISU experiments showed that reducing tractor speed had a minimal advantage.According to Hanna, there wasn't always an increase in gasoline consumption. Sometimes going faster, moving up a gear or two, and pulling the throttle back resulted in improved fuel economy.
According to a prior study, excessive fuel usage has been linked to overinflated tires. This method lessens tire lug contact in problematic or soft soil situations. In ISU tests, there was little difference between properly inflated and overinflated tires. Three of the five trials with correctly inflated tires showed reduced fuel use. However, the fuel savings in these instances where chisel plowing was investigated were just 1% to 2%.
Singles versus dualsDuals often support the weight of the axle or increase stability or buoyancy. They also use less gasoline, which is an added benefit. In the ISU experiments, removing the second tire increased fuel consumption by 4% during planting and 12% during field cultivation.
Front-wheel drive is used to assist the front wheels in pulling the load. Moreover, it saves fuel. The ISU researchers examined fuel consumption with and without mechanical front-wheel drive activated throughout four field operations. Fuel consumption increased from 5% to 31% when the front axle was not powered.
Another justification for using the front-wheel drive, according to Hanna.