A TractorLife.com article shares practical advice on how farmers can save on fuel costs:
You’ve heard all the usual tactics for using less tractor fuel: Change the oil, clean the air filters, inflate the tires. But there’s one operating procedure that can significantly reduce fuel costs, without spending a dime. It’s a simple matter of watching how you operate your tractor: Shift up and throttle back.
The practice involves reducing engine speed 70 to 80% of rated engine speed and shifting to a faster gear to maintain the desired field speed and implement productivity.
“Tractors are normally a little oversized for the implement they are using,” says Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab. “Rather than run at full throttle, shift a gear or two up and reduce the throttle. That action alone will bring some significant fuel savings.”
As far as farm tractors for sale are concerned, diesel tractors are the most fuel efficient of the three types. Statistics show that diesel tractors consume fuel at an average rate of 0.048 gallons per hour per PTO-hp (approximately 15 percent of the claimed hp output). It fares the best among gas (0.068 gal/hr per PTO-hp) and liquefied petroleum gas tractors (0.080 gal/hr per PTO-hp). However, fuel consumption, as with vehicles, isn't always absolute.
Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab that tests tractors for fuel efficiency in the U.S., says tractors are often too big for their implements. As a result, the tractors use more fuel than needed to pull the implement. This is the rationale behind a common practice in tractor operations called “gear up, throttle back (GUTB).” As the name implies, instead of pinning the throttle, drivers shift to a higher gear and reducing the speed.
GUTB is commonly used for field operations with light implements, usually as an alternative to buying a smaller tractor for sale. Small implements will hardly need full RPM for the tractor to pull them, which causes precious fuel to be wasted on nothing. By shifting to a higher gear and easing on the throttle, a tractor operator can save as much as 15 percent on fuel costs per acre. This is because the tractor is only producing as much power it needs to pull the implement.
This is especially the case for diesel tractors; at 13.0 PTO-hp, they deliver the highest maximum PTO-hp per hour per gallon. A diesel tractor like the ones for sale at 411Farmnet can use a gallon per acre to pull a chisel plow.
(From Shift Up, Throttle Back, TractorLife.com, Published June 13, 2012)