Submitted by: Carla Nemecek, Southwind Extension District
Although the cost of fuel has declined the past few days, input costs are still high especially on the farm. With hay baling, planting soybeans and wheat harvest upon Southeast Kansas, one of the largest expenses will be fuel, so being conscientious how certain vehicles are used could aide in lowering those costs. Several tips are offered by K-State Research & Extension.
- Avoid unnecessary driving. Maybe the task can be handled with a phone call instead of a trip.
- Match the vehicle to the task. Take the family car to pick up parts instead of the four-wheel-drive truck.
- Get rid of junk. Extra tools, supplies and other nonessentials in the back of a vehicle add weight that decreases fuel mileage.
- Keep vehicles in good running order. Clogged filters and injectors rob power and efficiency from tractors, trucks, and cars.
- Check the tire pressure. Underinflated or overinflated tires can increase rolling resistance and fuel use.
- Switch to a minimum or no-till farming practices. Fewer tractor passes through the field means less fuel used.
- Match the tractor to the task. Don’t use a large field tractor when a smaller one will work.
- Make sure the tractor is ballasted properly. Tires on a poorly ballasted tractor will slip and increase fuel use. Too much ballast for the task uses more fuel than necessary.
- Gear up and throttle back when performing field tasks that don’t require full engine power. Operating a tractor at three-quarters power can save 5 to 15 percent, compared to full-throttle operation.
- Consider auto steer attachments for field tasks. Accurate work reduces overlaps or skips with sprayers and tillage equipment, reducing fuel use.
- Avoid unnecessary engine idling. Idling can account for 15 to 20 percent of fuel use.
- Paint fuel storage tanks white. A dark-colored, 300-gallon fuel storage tank can vent up to 120 gallons of fuel a year.
For more information, contact the Southwind District Office in Iola at 620-365-2242 or www.southwind.ksu.edu