Beneficial Management Practices: Environmental Manual for Crop Producers in Alberta - Energy Efficiency

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 By decreasing the amount of fuel used, you can lower your energy costs, boost the efficiency of your operation and decrease the amount of harmful emissions released into the environment. Energy accounting provides a simple process to determine your energy use and costs to help you identify which energy-saving options will work best for your operation..
  • For more information on energy efficiency, see First Steps to Energy Management: Save Energy and Money (ARD). This guide will help you through the steps to add up your energy use and costs and provides some simple, low-cost ideas for reducing energy use on your farm. For a copy, call the AgTech Centre (1-403-329-1212) or the Conservation and Development Branch (1-780-422-4385). All Alberta Government offices may be reached toll-free by first dialing 310-0000.
Practices to reduce fuel consumption include:
  • Keep cutting tools sharp and implements level to the ground to prevent unnecessary power requirements.
  • Practice routine and timely maintenance on all farm equipment and implements.
  • Perform multiple tasks on each pass through the field where possible.
  • Inflate tires according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Use radial tires
  • Reduce tillage.
  • Match the tractor to the load. The typical optimum pull is 40% of the tractor weight.
  • Add or remove ballast to match the load when tractors are used for different field operations. Removing weight also reduces soil compaction.
  • Gear up and throttle down: Shift to a faster gear and slow the engine speed to maintain the desired field speed. This decreases the fuel consumption, but when the engine speed is reduced, reaction time of the tractor hydraulics will be slower and PTO speed is correspondingly reduced. This could result in unacceptable performance and/or reduced productivity from the PTO-driven device. Gearing up and throttling down can be used when loads require less than 65% of a tractor's power.
  • Shut engines off when not in use.
  • For high temperature grain drying, use a continuous flow dryer.
  • For low temperature aeration grain drying, use automatic controls. If you do not have automatic controls, monitor the drying process regularly.
Back to Chapter 6 - Energy Inputs
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Roger Bryan.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on November 1, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 30, 2017.