Reviewed October 1993

G1208, Fuel Requirement Estimates for Selected Field Operations

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Fuel Requirement Estimates for Selected Field Operations

James C. Frisby
Department of Agricultural Engineering

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 speed Power required per foot of width (Pto Hp) Diesel fuel consumption
Plow, moldboard (8-inch depth) 4.5 13.5 1.68 gallons per acre
Plow, chisel (8-inch depth) 5.0 9.3 1.10 gallons per acre
Disk, tandem Corn stalks 5.0 3.5 0.45 gallons per acre
Chisel plowed 5.0 4.3 0.55 gallons per acre
Moldboard plowed 5.0 5.6 0.65 gallons per acre
Disk, heavy offset 5.0 8.0 0.95 gallons per acre
Field cultivator 5.5 5.2 0.60 gallons per acre
Harrow, springtooth 5.5 3.5 0.40 gallons per acre
Harrow, spiketooth 6.5 2.5 0.30 gallons per acre
Cultivator, row crop 4.5 3.2 0.45 gallons per acre
Rolling cultivator 5.5 2.5 0.35 gallons per acre
Rotary hoe 7.0 2.3 0.25 gallons per acre
Anhydrous applicator 5.0 5.5 0.65 gallons per acre
Planter, row crop Conventional 4.5 3.5 0.50 gallons per acre
No-till 4.5 2.0 0.35 gallons per acre
Grain drill 4.5 2.5 0.35 gallons per acre
Corn picker 2.5 3.5 1.15 gallons per acre
Combine Small grain 3.0 3.0 1.00 gallons per acre
Soybeans 3.0 3.3 1.10 gallons per acre
Corn and milo 2.0 4.0 1.60 gallons per acre
Mower Cutterbar 6.0 2.3 0.35 gallons per acre
Rotary 5.0 5.0 0.80 gallons per acre
Mow-condition 5.0 3.0 0.60 gallons per acre
Swather 6.0 3.0 0.55 gallons per acre
Rake 5.0 1.0 0.25 gallons per acre
Baler 3.0 2.0 0.45 gallons per acre
Sprayer 4.0 1.0 0.10 gallons per acre
Forage harvester Green chop 3.0 2.0 0.95 gallons per acre
Haylage 3.0 2.5 1.25 gallons per acre
Corn silage 1.5 5.0 3.60 gallons per acre

G1208 Fuel Requirement Estimates for Selected Field Operations | University of Missouri Extension