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Energy Use on Farms and Ranches

Solar Use on Farms and Ranches
Energy is one of the more expensive components of raising crops and livestock. Several articles and factsheets on solar energy have been produced recently that provide helpful suggestions on ways to reduce energy use in irrigation, in buildings, in the field and on the range. Two articles from western publications also highlight the potential for biodiesel production.

The Department of Energy’s “Energy Savers” web site providers information on agricultural applications of solar energy. Among the ways solar energy can be used are for crop and grain drying, space and water heating, greenhouse heating, remote electricity supply and water pumping.

Farmers Increasingly Counting on Sunshine for Energy Production.” provides an overview of how some California agriculture producers are integrating solar powered systems into the harvesting of fruit, wine production, and irrigation.

Solar-Powered Livestock Watering Systems” from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service gives an introduction to solar-powered livestock watering systems,
solar watering system Solar Watering System
including discussions of cost, components, and terminology, as well as some suggestions for designing and installing these systems. The strengths and weaknesses of solar pumping are compared to the main options for pumping in remote locations: mechanical windmills and portable generators powered by gas, propane, or diesel fuel. The publication also includes descriptions of three successful projects and a brief resource list.

Biodiesel Can Be Made from Canola Oil.” The Farm & Ranch Guide documents that the North Dakota State University's North Central Research Extension Center in Minot is starting a project to demonstrate that biodiesel made from canola oil works.
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