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Fuel Requirement Estimates for Selected Field Operations

James C. Frisby
Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia
Field operations needed to culture crops pose a major fuel demand. Farmers can save significant money and energy if they use field operation plans that provide adequate crop care with minimal fuel consumption.

Fuel requirements for all field operations vary somewhat by location and date of operation. Tillage fuel requirements are especially difficult to predict. Moisture content, soil type and depth of operation also directly affect fuel consumption.

Table 1 lists estimates of fuel consumption for selected field operations. (Values given are for actual field work and do not include travel to and from the field.) The values are estimates — it should be understood that fuel consumption for any operation may vary considerably.

Obviously, if the number of field operations is reduced, fuel consumption (and cost for fuel) will be reduced. Only those field operations that are essential for each crop should be done.

Table 1. Estimates of fuel required for selected field operations.
Machine (mph)Ground speedPower required per foot of width (Pto Hp)Diesel fuel consumption (gallons per acre)
Plow, moldboard (8-inch depth)4.513.51.68
Plow, chisel (8-inch depth)5.09.31.10
Disk, tandemCorn stalks5.03.50.45
Chisel plowed5.04.30.55
Moldboard plowed5.05.60.65
Disk, heavy offset5.08.00.95
Field cultivator5.55.20.60
Harrow, springtooth5.53.50.40
Harrow, spiketooth6.52.50.30
Cultivator, row crop4.53.20.45
Rolling cultivator5.52.50.35
Rotary hoe7.02.30.25
Anhydrous applicator5.05.50.65
Planter, row crop
Conventional4.53.50.50
No-till4.52.00.35
Grain drill4.52.50.35
Corn picker2.53.51.15
CombineSmall grain3.03.01.00
Soybeans3.03.31.10
Corn and milo2.04.01.60
MowerCutterbar6.02.30.35
Rotary5.05.00.80
Mow-condition5.03.00.60
Swather6.03.00.55
Rake5.01.00.25
Baler3.02.00.45
Sprayer4.01.00.10
Forage harvesterGreen chop3.02.00.95
Haylage3.02.51.25
Corn silage1.55.03.60


Copyright 1999 University of Missouri
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