How much fuel does your farm use for different management operations?
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Pressures on farm profitability due to increasing energy costs are likely to increase, driven by higher oil prices associated with oil depletion and the increasing global demand for the resource. The direct cost of fuel and lubricants to Australian farms is already substantial, accounting for about 9% of the total costs according to ABARE. Information about fuel use in agricultural systems exists in various forms and locations, but is not easily accessible to farm decision-makers. There is a need to collate, integrate and synthesise this information into a useable format. The “Farm Fuel Calculator” is aimed to serve this purpose by allowing farmers to compare paddocks, crops, soil types and management options. Charged with this information farmers and advisers will be able to evaluate options on a truly comparative basis and make informed decisions about ways to decrease the fuel consumption of their enterprises. The calculator is built up in the form of a spreadsheet that will enable a user to select various farm management options (e.g. spreading, sowing, harvesting and transport) for the crop and animal components of a farm enterprise. The calculator is designed to assess the internal fuel usage on the farm and express it in terms of fuel use and cost. The direct benefit to producers and the industry will come through the potential for decreasing the cost of production by reducing the use of fuel. In addition, changes in fuel use will potentially help reduce the environmental impact of agriculture through decreased inputs and hence lowered greenhouse gas production.
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