How to Save on Fuel Costs on the Farm


Megan WildOne of the highest costs you’ll encounter on the farm is the cost of fuel.

Running a farm is an expensive business. There’s a lot you have to purchase, including seed, fertilizer, herbicides, livestock, feed and fuel. You can budget for most of these expenses, so it’s easy to keep your spending within limits. However, in addition to monitoring your spending, you should also consider saving money by reducing fuel costs.

The cost of fuel fluctuates depending on supply and demand and the time of year. Because your livelihood depends on your ability to plant, grow and harvest your crops or livestock, you need to get as much out of your profit margin as you can. Below are a few ideas to help you reduce the amount of fuel you use and save some money.

1. Reduce Idling Time

One of the largest wasters of fuel is running your equipment when you’re not actively using it. In the past, because of the way diesel engines were built, it was important to keep engines idling to ensure everything had time to heat up and cool down properly. Technology has advanced the diesel engine, so it’s no longer imperative to keep your equipment running when it’s not in use.

To reduce fuel costs, limit machine warm-up to three to five minutes. When it comes to cooling your equipment down, you probably don’t need to let it run for more than 10 minutes, which will further reduce fuel costs. Shutting off the engine when you’re not using the vehicle, instead of letting it run, will also help you save money on fuel.

old red tractor

3/6/2018 3:23:45 PM

Sometimes using power equipment is better than not using them. Especially when you have a bad back or another injury, are not strong enough to handle the task at hand by yourself, and/or do not have enough time to be able to get everything done! Then a Powered machine can come in handy! But you have to use the right one, the Right sized one for the task, and the one that has enough power for the job that needs to be done. Also make sure you have enough fuel on hand and the proper fuel on hand to complete the job! Nothing like having 50 gallons of gas on hand and having a Diesel powered tractor and No Diesel! Yes A friend of mine actually did that one time when trying to clear weeds, grass, and brush from one of his relatives property! He then had to go buy a few 5 gallon fuel cans and go buy diesel for the tractor. He also had a gas powered push mower, a gas powered weed whacker, and a chainsaw.

11/11/2017 8:39:30 PM

Megan, I'm just a lowly gardener with two locations to care for. My fuel costs are practically nil. My tools are mostly hand tools. Some would say tillers are the best tool for gardens but I use a shovel to turn the soil. I do use a weed trimmer to manicure the pathways and front garden roadside. The rest is all done by hand tools and I love it. Quiet, steady, muscle work makes for tired achy bones that rest well at night. Work hard and go to bed tired is my motto. ***** I'm not sure what it costs to run the big guy tractors these days but I sure see a lot of them in Nebraska fields. As you said in your post, bigger and faster is not necessarily the most efficient. Some one gifted me a tiny little 2-cyle garden weed tiller. I'll have to see if I can get it running. ***** Have a great fuel efficient day on the farm. ***** Nebraska Dave

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