Saving Time and Fuel During Tillage


  • Matthew Digman
  • U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
Project Media

There are many ways to save fuel in tillage field operations: not tilling, choosing a minimum tillage operation over a heavier one, and ensuring your tractor and implement are set up properly.

As with any farm operation, the value of tillage must be weighed against its cost. The first costs to consider are labor, fuel and machinery. These costs are estimated to range from $9 to $19 per acre, depending on the field operation and equipment used [1]. Additionally, tillage can increase costs of subsequent field operations as loose soil reduces tractive efficiency adding further cost to operations such as planting. Finally, some tillage costs are harder to quantify, including the risk of soil erosion and nutrient loss. Conversely, tillage can have many positive impacts on crop production. These impacts can include remediating soil compaction, managing crop residues and providing favorable spring planting conditions.