The price of off-road diesel has increased from 77 cents per litre to 96 cents in one year, which is an increase of 25% since September 2017.
This rise in fuel prices is already affecting your margins, and there's no point relying on policies to reduce fuel taxes and help you regain profitability.
However, there are some simple solutions to reduce the fuel consumption of agricultural vehicles for equal work that we can all use. Continue reading for six key ways to reduce your consumption.
There are four main factors to take into consideration to help reduce your tractor's consumption: your tyres, the type of work being carried out, the load, and the speed.
Tyre pressure based on the type of ground is the factor that has the biggest impact on your fuel consumption.
In the fields, an over-inflated tyre will result in excessive slip, and will therefore need more engine power to make up for the lost grip and better transfer tractive force to the ground.
On roads, an under-inflated tyre will have too large a contact surface area with the tarmac, thus generating considerable resistance that also need more engine power.
The original tyres supplied with your tractor are not the most suitable for your machine; they're simply whatever was cheapest for the manufacturer.
It will always be more profitable for your farm to replace these tyres with ones that are better suited to your main tractor usage.
Equipping your tractor with low-pressure tyres that are wider than the original set has such a strong impact on your fuel consumption that you will more than recoup the additional cost of these tyres from all the subsequent fuel savings after only a few months of use. This means you're actually coming out on top in the long run, even though it might seem more expensive in the beginning.
This feature is available on nearly all recent tractors. The 540 rpm power take-off is obtained using a 20-25% lower engine speed than full power mode. If you reduce the engine speed, the eco take-off will still deliver the same power but using 15-20% less fuel.
For heavy jobs like ploughing and clearing stubble, it's not always useful to work at depth. If you soil is tilled on a regular basis and you take care to avoid excessive compaction, or if your tractor is equipped with low-pressure VF tyres, you can reduce your working depth by several centimetres without affecting crop yields.
Testing has shown that reducing depth by 8 cm saves 26% more fuel.
We're constantly against the clock, but if you reduce your speed by 10 km/h when driving on the road you can save a lot of fuel over the year, especially if it's a long distance between the farm and your plots.
True, you'll lose an extra 5 or 6 minutes per journey, but it's the reduced fuel consumption that'll make more of a difference to your end-of-year balance sheet.
The traction power needed for ploughing has a direct impact on your consumption. If you miscalculate the load transfer, your tractor won't be balanced and you won't be getting the full benefit of its power.
By increasing the axle load based on the tool being used, you'll improve your tractor's grip, prevent slip, and gain the maximum tractive force from your engine with zero loss.
To learn more and boost your farm's profits, Bridgestone-Agriculture is offering you a free, detailed eBook that explains the essential role your agricultural tyres play in your productivity.
The information contained in this publication is for guidance purpose only. Whilst every effort has been taken in its production, no responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage arising from any kind of undetected technical or commercial error contained in this content. Any data supplied in this publication is subject to possible revision following the date of publication. Due to the constant advance of tyre technology, the contents of this publication are subject to change without notice.