Getting the Most from Your Energy Dollar...
There’s no avoiding this reality in farming: Energy is one of the more expensive components of raising crops and livestock. In 2006, direct energy expenditures in agriculture accounted for 5-7 percent of farm expenditures. An earlier USDA study found that nearly half the cost of production was spent for energy.
Irrigation Efficiency Tips
"Introduction to Energy Efficient Irrigation" was updated on the eXtension.org website. It provides an overview of energy efficient irrigation, and provides information and links about irrigation system improvements and management that result in optimal water and energy efficiency. An irrigation checklist is provided, as are links to further resources.
Solar Powered Small Farm Equipment
Carts & Tools, a tool company in Corvallis, Oregon, is creating battery-powered tillers, weeders, and other farm equipment that is easily maneuverable and can be charged with a solar panel. The tools are designed for efficiency-minded small farmers for whom larger implements, such as fuel-powered tractors, are over-scaled. More information is at "With Small Farmers in Mind, Tool Maker Thinks Big."
Willow Shows Potential as Biofuel Crop
Crop Water Allocator
An eXtension.org research summary on the sequestration of carbon by shrub willow describes a multi-university study outlining the potential for shrub willow to become a widely utilized biofuel crop, mainly due to its high net energy ratio. Links to further information are also provided.
An online tool for calculating an optimum crop watering schedule for the highest water efficiency and net yield was recently developed by Kansas State University Extension. The Crop Water Allocator is available free and can be used directly on the web or downloaded to a local computer and used offline. The tool is part of a suite of software developed by the KSU Mobile Irrigation Lab.
Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm
Renewable energy represents an important option for agricultural producers. This publication introduces three renewable energy resources that can be attractive and economically feasible for the farm: solar, wind and renewable fuels. This is not a technical guide for designing or installing renewable energy systems, but an overview that provides information on wind, solar and renewable fuel technologies, cost and savings, site planning and financial incentives. A list of resources is included.