As you’re wrapping up spring planting, we understand your first priority is getting your equipment to the field and getting it done.
Still, we expect that concern lingers in the back of your mind about rising fuel costs as you spend endless hours in the field. “Will our harvest cover these rising input costs? Will prices stay strong?”
With average U.S. diesel costs around $4 per gallon, (reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, May 30, 2011, it’s a hard issue to avoid.
While Case IH can’t do anything to lower fuel costs, we can offer you some guidance to optimize fuel efficiency as you operate your tractor. That’s why I asked John Bohnker, Case IH Marketing Manager for Magnum tractors, to provide helpful tips.
1) Find your tractor’s “sweet spot” for power and fuel efficiency. Fuel consumption is improved if the tractor operates at lower engine RPMs versus rated speed.
- To maintain the same travel speed at lower engine RPMs, shift to a higher gear (1-2 gear ranges).
2) If you operate Case IH tractors, enlist your Diesel Saver Automatic Productivity Management (APM) system (standard in all Puma, Magnum and Steiger tractors) to automate the process of maintaining travel speed at lower engine RPMs.
- The APM system automatically selects the most efficient gear ratio and engine speed combination for optimized performance and fuel efficiency.
- Preliminary results from the Nebraska Test Lab show that the APM system provided a 23 percent improvement in fuel efficiency at 75 percent load operation.
3) Utilize autoguidance systems to minimize skips and overlaps and maximize input investments during tillage and planting operations. Case IH Magnum and Steiger tractors come from the factory, ready for operation of the Case IH AccuGuide system.
4) Inflate tires so the pressure matches the load. It’s common for producers to over-inflate tractor tires. However, this inhibits fuel efficiency, minimizes traction, and increases tire wear.
5) Conduct routine engine maintenance. Clean air and fuel systems lend to fuel efficiency – this is the oldest trick in the book!
6) Minimize idle time. If the tractor engine is warmed up, it makes sense to shut the tractor off if the tractor is going to idle more than a minute.
If you happen to be driving a Magnum tractor, here are a few more things to consider:
- Magnum tractors are designed for improved fuel efficiency with a 19 speed economy transmission in the base of the tractor. The transmission allows full 25 mph transport speed at reduced engine RPM.
- Magnum tractors utilize a suspended front axle, which provides better traction across the field, improving productivity and reducing fuel costs.
Tell us what you’re doing to improve fuel efficiency in your tractors, and you can also check out some other agriculture resources for more fuel efficiency tips:
Strategic Tractor Operation Can Save Fuel – Farmgateblog.com
Properly Inflated Tractor Tires Save Fuel Cost – Tire Pressure Gauge Blog
Fuel-saving tips can cut expenses – Iowa Farmer Today