UNL CropWatch March 31, 2011: See How Increasing Energy Prices Will Affect your Budget

UNL CropWatch March 31, 2011: See How Increasing Energy Prices Will Affect your Budget

March 31, 2011

Note:  The fuel prices used in these tables may differ from those in the 2011 Nebraska Crop Budgets, which was revised April 1.  Use your fuel costs to calculate actual costs.

Gasoline and diesel prices have been climbing since the gulf oil spill and now are higher still due to the unrest in the Middle East. In managing your farm operation, you’ll want to consider what effect these increases will have on your overall production costs, particularly for farm machinery and specific practices.  From 2009 to 2010 diesel fuel costs per gallon increased 26% from $1.92 to $2.42. 

Estimating Costs for Your Farm

The UNL Crop Production Budgets for 2011 (EC 872) have been updated to include current prices for fuel and fertilizer. (The new prices represent significant increases from earlier this year.)  Individual budgets, compiled by crop group, will be available on the CropWatch Website next week.

Download the Excel® files that the author developed for  Tables 1 and 2 so you can track costs for your farm. Download

To answer this question, first estimate fuel consumption for farm operations. If you routinely track fuel use for various tractors and combines while performing farming operations, you probably already have this information you need. Simply multiply your historical fuel consumption by the former price per gallon and the current price and compare the results.

Most folks don’t track fuel consumption by field operation and need a research-based fuel use estimate to compute the effect a rise in price will have on overall production costs. A good reference for this is the Minnesota Farm Machinery Economic Cost Estimates See footnote for website information.

Using the fuel consumption estimates presented in the Minnesota publication, the fuel consumption estimate per hour for power units is presented in Table 1 and the estimate of fuel consumption per acre for field operations is presented in Table 2. Note: implements that have a wider swath require more horsepower overall but the horsepower hours per acre, and therefore the fuel consumption per acre, remain unchanged.

Tom Dorn
Extension Educator, Lancaster County

 

Year to Year Fuel Cost Comparison*

Insert your fuel cost for values in blue to calculate your costs.
Table 1. Diesel fuel cost per hour for various power units.
      2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
    Estimated
Fuel Use
Gal/hour
 $1.89  $2.17  $2.35  $3.23  $1.92  $2.42  0.00  0.00
                   
     Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr   Cost/hr
 Tractors                    
   40 HP  1.8  $3.39  $3.90  4.23  5.81  3.45  4.35  
   60 HP  2.6  4.90  5.63  6.10  8.40  4.99  6.28    
   75 HP  3.3  6.22  7.14  7.75  10.66  6.33  7.97    
  105 HP  4.6  8.68  9.96  10.80  14.86  8.82  11.11    
  130 HP  5.7  10.75  12.34  13.38  18.41  10.93  13.77    
  160 HP  7.0  13.20  15.16  16.44  22.61  13.43  16.91    
  200 HP  8.8  16.60  19.05  20.66  28.42  16.88  21.25    
  225 HP  9.9  18.67  21.43  23.25  31.98  18.99  23.91    
   260 HP  11.4  21.50  24.68  26.77  36.82  21.87  27.53    
   310 HP  13.6  25.65  29.44  31.93  43.93  26.08  32.84    
  360 HP  15.8  29.80  34.21  37.10  51.03  30.30  38.16    
  425 HP  18,7  35.27  40.49  43.91  60.40  35.87  45.16    
  Combines                    
  190 HP  8.4  15.84  18.19  19.72  27.13  16.11  20.29    
  220 HP  9.7  18.29  21.00  22.78  31.33  18.60  23.43    
  275 HP  12.1  22.82  26.20  28.41  39.08  23.21  29.22    

                   
Table 2. Diesel fuel cost per acre for field operations.
      2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
     
Price per Gal
  Estimated Fuel
Use Gal/Ac
$1.89 $2.17 $2.35   $3.23 $1.92 $2.42    
                   
Tillage                    
Field Cultivator 0.33 $0.62 $0.71 $0.77 $1.07 $0.63 $0.80 $0.00    
Tandom Disk 0.47 $0.00 $1.02 $1.10 $1.52 $0.90 $1.14 $0.00    
Tandom Disk (HD) 0.76 $0.00 $1.65 $1.78 $2.45 $1.46 $1.84 $0.00    
Planting                     
Row Crop Planter 0.34 $0.64 $0.74 $0.80 $1.10 $0.65 $0.82 $0.00    
Minimum Till Planter 0.53 $1.00 $1.15 $1.24 $1.71 $1.02 $1.28 $0.00    
Grain Drill 0.49 $0.92 $1.06 $1.15 $1.58 $0.94 $1.18 $0.00    
Presswheel Drill 0.63 $1.19 $1.36 $1.48 $2.03 $1.21 $1.52 $0.00    
No-Till Drill 0.81 $1.53 $1.75 $1.90 $2.62 $1.55 $1.96 $0.00    
Misc Equipment
Cultivator 0.46 $0.87 $1.00 $1.08 $1.49 $0.88 $1.11 $0.00    
Rotary Hoe 0.18 $0.34 $0.39 $0.42 $0.58 $0.35 $0.43 $0.00    
Boom Sprayer 0.11 $0.21 $0.24 $0.26 $0.36 $0.21 $0.27 $0.00    
Anhydrous Applicator 0.55 $1.04 $1.19 $1.29 $1.78 $1.05 $1.33 $0.00    
Stalk Shreader 0.74 $1.40 $1.60 $1.74 $2.39 $1.42 $1.79 $0.00    
Harvesting 
Mower Conditioner 0.40 $0.75 $0.87 $0.94 $1.29 $0.77 $0.97 $0.00    
Hay Swather 0.35 $0.66 $0.76 $0.82 $1.13 $0.67 $0.85 $0.00    
Hay Baler PTO (twine) 0.40 $0.75 $0.87 $0.94 $1.29 $0.77 $0.97 $0.00    
Round Baler (1500 lb) 0.77 $1.45 $1.67 $1.81 $2.49 $1.48 $1.86 $0.00    
Combine (various heads) 2.00 $3.77 $4.33 $4.70 $6.46 $3.84 $4.83 $0.00