The rest of the U.S. is starting to catch up to farmers when it comes to finding ways to conserve energy. Farmers have long been advocates of conservation and sustainability, since it's in their nature to be good stewards of the earth, air and water. Energy efficiency is an important part of this equation.
No-till and minimum-till practices have become the norm in many areas and strip-till is also utilized for water and energy conservation, says Mike Estes, BTI Greensburg in Greensburg, Kan. This practice cuts down the number of passes made through a field with a tractor, sprayer, drill or other tillage device thereby saving fuel. Also, farmers can utilize wind generators to help them offset their energy consumption on the farm or ranch. Farmers can also incorporate in-floor heating or bio-mass burners for heat sources in their shop buildings. And that's just the beginning.
"We can educate farmers on how our latest up-to-date equipment can be utilized and help them to offset their input costs," says Estes. "Global positioning systems can be a great tool for reducing passes through the field and maximizing fertilizer or seed resources."
In addition, new equipment continues to become more fuel efficient. The new Tier 3 engines from John Deere are about 8 percent more efficient than the engines they replace, according to Nebraska Tractor test results. Also, modern engines can utilize a biodiesel blend. Estes notes farmers can also use larger combine platforms and heads, which allow them to finish faster and use less fuel.
Another service Estes and BTI can provide is the use of wind generators to offset rising energy costs. There are provisions included in various stimulus packages and farm-related programs that encourage the use of alternative energy, such as wind turbines or solar energy.
"We are also very involved with wind energy and have even formed our own wind energy division, BTI Wind Energy LLC," says Estes. "We are offering our services as a dealer to market and maintain these wind energy systems to our farmer customers."
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