Fuel Requirements

The fuel requirements for tillage varies greatly depending on the tillage implement, operating depth, operating speed, soil conditions, and many other variables.  Fuel use per acre is relatively the same for implements of different widths, but more acres per hour can be covered with wider implements.  These are typical diesel fuel requirements for various row crop tillage systems.


Typical Diesel Fuel Requirements, gallons per acre
Operation Plow Chisel Disk


Strip-till No-till
Shred stalks       0.55    
Moldboard plow 2.25          
Chisel plow   1.05        
Knife fertilize (corn) 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 1.00 0.60
Disk 0.74   0.74      
Disk or field cultivate 0.74 0.74 0.74      
Plant 0.52 0.52 0.52 0.68 0.52 0.52
Cultivate 0.43 0.43   0.86*    
Spray     0.11   0.23* 0.23*
Total 5.28 3.34 2.71 2.69 1.75 1.35

* Operation performed twice


There is an Energy Estimator for Tillage developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to increase energy awareness in agriculture.  This Estimator compares the fuel use for different tillage systems and calculates potential savings when switching systems.