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How to save fuel?

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mp.freelance

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I'm working on an article about reducing your diesel bill. Do any of you have any fuel-saving ideas? I won't quote you or mention your name, but your ideas could be helpful when I actually begin interviewing people (probably from university extension services.)

P.S. The article will be written with the smaller acreage farmer/rancher in mind.
 

PPRM

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mp,

not diesel, but I do save a ton on my pickup with my Oil Bypass Filter. It is basically an Oil Refiner puit on by Powerhouse Diesel in Pendleton. I drive 60,000 miles per year. We test the oil and I am changing the filter every 15,000 miles and the Oil every 30,000 miles. Truck has 431,000 miles on it, '96 Powerstroke,


PPRM
 

mp.freelance

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Thanks, PPRM. Thanks certainly a lot of miles on that truck! I'll have to find out whether they have anything similar for farm equipment.
 

PureCountry

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I know it's just kickin a turd that's already been rolled, but I'll say it again anyways...the best way we found to cut the fuel bills - gas or diesel - was June calving, stockpiled-forage and swath-grazing. Don't own a tractor, just the old bale truck. Equipment is not an asset, it's a liability. :wink:
 
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Because of fuel costs and plentiful hay supplies some around here were not taking second or third cuttings- planning on grazing instead- or as Pure Country said, more were swath grazing....Also saw a few that usually truck cows home from summer range, that trailed this year- as far as 30-40 miles....I have heard several people talking that if the fuel prices stay high and grain prices stay low, they are going to seed cropland into improved pasture and run more cattle- get around the high machinery, fertilizer and fuel expenses....
 

theHiredMansWife

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In all seriousness:
Our cattle (750 head) winter on cornstalks.
Because of this, no hay is put up in the summer, or fed out in the winter. For the little bit of hay we need for things like corralling the drys or weaned calves while we wait to sell, we buy.
While we do use the tractor for things like moving those bales around and rebuilding the corral and such, the actual fuel bill is pretty negligeable.
 

mp.freelance

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Thanks for the replies. Although I like the rancher-specific ideas, do you have any tips that could apply to say, grass-seed growers or other farmers?
 

frenchie

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PureCountry said:
...the best way we found to cut the fuel bills - gas or diesel - was June calving, stockpiled-forage and swath-grazing. Don't own a tractor, just the old bale truck. Equipment is not an asset, it's a liability. :wink:

Sort my thinking as well...
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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Ok, so how does the corn get planted?

Best way we've found to save fuel is, do all you can in one trip. Plan ahead. And yes we've bought two small trucks that get better fuel mileage. Only drive my F350 when I absolutely have to.
 

PureCountry

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I'd think if your income is strictly as a crop/seed producer, it's a little tough to stay that route and cut your fuel consumption, too. To grow a crop, the seed's gotta go in the ground, so the tractor's gotta get it there, the sprayer's gotta spray, the swather and/or combine hafta take it off, and the trucks hafta haul it out. Only things I can see is cutting your idle times, operating at your most efficient gear/rpm, and using good fuel.
 

George

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Don't shoot me but when we run the gravel pit full tilt we will use fro 200 to 300 gal of diesel fuel per day.

But when you figure we are producing between 1,000 and 2,000 tons of salable material per hour it is efficient.

I feel the best thing you can do to save energy is keep up on your daily maintance. Keep tires inflated properly, Keep clean fuel and air filters, change oil on a regular basis ( yes we heat the shop with used oit - - saving on heating oil cost).

Shut off equipemnt that is sitting - - - I have had employees that would leave a loader running while they ate lunch ( did not want the cab to get cold - - thought it was easier on the engine - - - I have heard all the excusses)
 

DOC HARRIS

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theHiredMansWife said:
In all seriousness:
Our cattle (750 head) winter on cornstalks.
Because of this, no hay is put up in the summer, or fed out in the winter. For the little bit of hay we need for things like corralling the drys or weaned calves while we wait to sell, we buy.
While we do use the tractor for things like moving those bales around and rebuilding the corral and such, the actual fuel bill is pretty negligeable.
HMWife-you winter 750 head on cornstalks. Are they pregnant cows/heifers? When do you calve? Do you feed Minerals in addition to stalks?Do you feed cake? What does your winter temperature get down to where you are? (Near Scottsbluff?) What body score do they maintain? It sounds as if you have a very frugal operation! Sorry for all the questions, but if that will work to an advantage it is a real boon! What percentage calving rate do you keep? Thank you for the information!

DOC HARRIS
 

theHiredMansWife

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We're well south of the Bluffs, Doc.
In fact, we're pretty close to Kansas. (But I grew up in northeast NE and it's a common practice up there, too)
Mineral and protein blocks.
The lesser half would actually *prefer* to feed a little hay, also, but he runs the place for an absentee owner who doesn't see the need.

I'd guess the cows maintain a 4-5 body score... We calve in Feb. and March (in order to get to grass by the time the cornfields are needing to get turned back up) and I'm thinking the last couple of years our calving loss has been in the 3-4% range.

No heifers, only older cows and *really* older cows. (though we kept replacement heifers this year, so hopefully some of the old gummers can be sold. :roll: )
 

Faster horses

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Four or five body score really isn't good enough is it?

We try for a six going into the winter and if they should lose 80 lbs. they would be a 5 at calving time. A 4 or 5 now, losing one body conditon score (80#) would put them at a 3 or 4 at calving time. I think 5 is the number the scorers like to see.

We overfeed our cows (my partner likes fat cows and so do I) so they are usually a 6 at calving time. We feed crested wheat grass hay with a little alfalfa. That and mineral is all they get. We did a forage analysis on it and it is 8-11% protein. Works good, no extra protein needed as long as we give them enough of what we have. 30# gives them 2.6 lbs of protein and 15 lbs. of energy. When it warms up, we will cut them back.

Protein needs are easily met as you can see. 2.6# is OVER the requirement at this point in gestation. I was 46 years old before I understood this, now it fascinates me. We have been oversold protein FOREVER.
 

Heifer

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mp.freelance said:
Thanks for the replies. Although I like the rancher-specific ideas, do you have any tips that could apply to say, grass-seed growers or other farmers?

For grain farmers (& I'm not one, but my dad is)... Switching from mimimum tillage or conventional tillage to no-till sure saves on fuel. No pre-seeding anhydrous application with a cultivator, no harrow-packing after seeding, LOTS less time picking rocks. BUT, there are more trips over the field with the sprayer, but 100 feet at a time with a light implement still saves fuel, compared to pulling heavy equipment.
 

theHiredMansWife

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Faster horses said:
Four or five body score really isn't good enough is it?
We try for a six going into the winter

So do we.
I guess I took his question of "maintain" to mean what are they after calving.
And you have to remember we have a bunch of geriatric cows that shouldn't really be in the herd anyway. They tend to be the bottom end of our BCS range no matter what time of year.
 

3words

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Faster horses said:
We overfeed our cows (my partner likes fat cows and so do I)
We do the same thing also,the Mrs and I don't like seeing skinny cows either.I like to eat,so my cows should be able to eat to.We think they pay us back,by the weight of their calves in the fall.
 

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