Fuel prices climb, conservation tillage offers relief

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As fuel prices continue to climb, conservation tillage might offer farmers some relief. An estimated 3.5 gallons of diesel fuel could be saved per acre by switching from conventional tillage to no-till. Other benefits like reduced soil erosion, improved soil tilth and water conservation can also be seen.

 

To see just what your savings would be, log onto http://ecat.sc.egov.usda.gov

First step is to enter your zip code. Next enter the number of acres grown for each crop listed. Lastly estimate your potential savings, by entering your fuel cost per gallon.

 

In my area, if I grew 100 acres of corn conventionally, it costs me $4.35 per gallon for diesel fuel. I would save $3,576 per year in fuel alone by switching to conservation tillage.

 

Total Diesel Fuel Cost Estimate (in dollars per year) based on $4.35/gallon

CropAcresConventional
Tillage
Mulch-TillNo-Till
Corn100$4,546$2,084$970
   Total Fuel Cost $4,546$2,084$970
   Potential Cost Savings over
   Conventional Tillage
  $2,462$3,576