Saving on Diesel Fuel

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

As spring approaches, farmers are facing higher than normal fuel costs. Making that cutting of hay now gets to be rather expensive. There are many ways to cut fuel costs and increase productivity. Here are a few:

  • Use the smallest available tractor that is safe and efficient for the job being performed.
  • Eliminate all non-essential machinery operations.
  • Whenever possible, operate in a higher gear and lower throttle settings to conserve fuel. Cutting engine speed by 300 rpms can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10%.
  • Keep tires inflated to correct pressures. Check slippage and add weight if necessary.
  • Dirty fuel injectors reduce combustion efficiency and cause power loss. Keep fuel injectors clean.
  • Dirty air cleaners choke a diesel engine. Clean and service air filters regularly.
  • Use engine oils that are of proper viscosity, and change oil regularly to reduce friction, and to aid in fuel efficiency.
  • Shut engine down if idle for more than 2-3 minutes. Most engines need only a 2-minute cool down even after running long and hard.

Lastly, try to minimize the amount of time spent driving tractors and other field equipment on the road. Use faster more fuel-efficient vehicles to service vehicles in the field, and to haul harvested crops to storage.

Damon Pollard
Extension Agent