January 2011 saw the implementation of the Interim Tier 4 standard by the Environmental Protection Agency. As a result, the next generation of tractors produced were more fuel efficient and produce around 90 percent less soot and 50 percent less nitrogen oxides. However, older tractors, which were made years before the standard, are at a disadvantage. How will farmers expect to save fuel and make less emissions with used farm equipment?
An eXtension article shares how farmers can significantly save on overall costs by simply matching the implement size to the tractor:
Matching tractors and implements of appropriate size is a major management decision facing many farmers and ranchers. Proper sizing will minimize time and labor requirements while maintaining efficient field operations.
If the tractor is oversized for the implement, fuel consumption and costs will be higher than necessary for the work done. According to data from Lazarus, a 200 HP MFWD tractor costs $24.27 more per hour of use than a 130 HP MFWD tractor; costs include fuel and oil, maintenance and repair, depreciation and overhead, which includes interest, insurance, and housing. If the implements are too large for the tractor, overloading will occur, resulting in slow field speeds and, therefore, reduced field capacity and quality of work. Overloading also causes excessive wear, increasing downtime and maintenance costs.
Experts say it's all in the matter of what the tractor is hauling. Despite a 57-foot chisel plow being more affordable to operate per acre than a 15-foot chisel plow, the latter has the advantage of a lower diesel cost. This is because the 57-foot chisel plow needs a 425-hp 4WD tractor to pull with ease, compared with the 130-hp tractor requirement for a 15-foot chisel plow. Farmers are advised to weigh the gains and losses of getting a more or less powerful tractor.
In addition, for an implement to be considered optimal for the tractor, the latter must be pulling it at a speed of between 3 and 8 mph. Most of the time, farmers get a tractor that's too large for their needs, namely the implement attached to it. This can be determined if the tractor is doing more than 8 mph while plowing the field. Getting a smaller tractor for this case is ideal in reducing the cost of diesel per acre.
Farmers need not look for new generation equipment to manage their farms efficiently. Saving on overall costs is all about using machinery properly, whether brand new or used. When looking for farm equipment for sale, they should turn to trusted dealers or even reputable buy and sell websites such as 411Farmnet to make sure that the machines are of high quality.
(Info from Match Implement Size to Tractor to Save Fuel, eXtension, Published March 23, 2012)