Energy is an input cost to agricultural production. Knowing typical values can help farmers evaluate management options. Diesel, propane, and electrical energy used on the farm during selected field operations, crop drying, and in swine housing were measured on Iowa State University farms. Baseline values were measured and for tractor operation management styles were compared.
Fuel use was reduced in five of six comparisons (18 to 34%) when operating the tractor in a higher gear and at reduced engine speed while maintaining travel speed. Fuel use also reduced with disking depth, but varied with travel speed during chisel plowing. Energy used in high-temperature drying in bins ranged from 4.67 to 7.70 Mj/kg (2010 to 3310 Btu/lb). Minimum ventilation fans had the highest duty factor in a curtain-sided swine finishing barn. Electrical use was greater in tunnel-ventilated than curtain-sided barns (29.0 vs 20.9 kWh/pig space-yr) and propane use was greater in wean-to-finish than finish-only operations(10.6 L vs 2.5 L/pig space-yr, 2.8 gal vs 0.67 gal/pig space-yr).
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