Getting the Most from Your Energy Dollar...
Using Energy Wisely on the Farm and Ranch

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.

Oil-Producing Crops that Can Serve as Biodiesel Feedstock
An article on oil-producing feedstocks that can be used in biodiesel production describes oilseed crops that are currently used for biodiesel production as well as potential oilseed crops and other sources of oil, such as animal fats and algae. A chart of feedstock yields and prices for biodiesel, as well as links to further information, are provided.

Conductive Cooling: The New Cow Comfort Concept?
This article in Progressive Dairyman explains how conductive cooling could be used to help keep cows cool. "Conductive cooling is basically the transfer of heat to cold between a warm surface and a cool surface, in a deep-bedded free stall, a heat exchanger panel is buried at a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Water flows through the chambers of the exchanger, which are made from a durable, high-density plastic. Depending on the temperature of the ground water, it may have to pass through a chiller before circulating through the system. Cooled water consistently and evenly flows through the chambers underneath the cow, thus carrying away the cow's body heat to cool her."

Carbon Sequestration on Bioenergy Farms
A U.S. Department of Agriculture study, “A Surprising Supply of Deep Soil Carbon,” is providing insight into the relationship between bioenergy crop production and carbon sequestration levels. Researchers found that carbon can be sequestered much deeper in the soil than previously thought, up to five feet below the surface. Additionally, amending the soil with nitrogen was found to significantly increase biomass yield.

Efficiency of Irrigation Systems
Natural Resources Conservation Service programs are helping farmers to increase the efficiency of their irrigation systems. A farmer in Oregon utilized the programs to rebuild his piping system underground, thereby minimizing leaks and reducing watering time by approximately half. Find his story online at “NRCS Programs Improve Efficiency on Ranch.”
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