Dan Funke, Larchwood, IA, traded equipment to save on fuel costs this year and won a $50 gas card from eHay Weekly for sharing his idea.
“I am downsizing two tractors that primarily run round balers. Replacing 150- to 160-hp tractors that consume 5-6 gallons per hour with 115-hp tractors that will do the same job on 2.5-3 gallons per hour should save 1,400 gallons of fuel over 700 hours of round baling,” he wrote.
Last month, eHay Weekly invited readers to tell what they’re doing to cut fuel costs. Evelyn Hansen, a Missouri grazier, uses foot power rather than horsepower. “I don't start my tractor!” Hansen wrote. “I am grazing my animals in a managed grazing system. I walk out to the pasture; I need the exercise. If they're in a far pasture, I bike. A good mountain bike costs less these days than a few tanks of fuel and is much better for me and the environment.”
Hansen saves on fertilizer costs, too. “I'll be spreading manure mixed with lime & seed this fall. Other than that, I let the animals harvest and spread my fertilizer.”
Two other readers offered ways to offset higher fuel prices. “One of the ways I have dealt with the increase in prices as a hay producer is to break my cost per ton of production down so, when I sell it, I can let the buyer know exactly what it is costing me per ton produced for each of the inputs,” wrote Kennley Wright, a Colman, SD, grower.
“This helps to give a greater understanding to the increase in hay cost to the buyer and better helps him understand the reasons. This is especially helpful when analyzing the cost of fertilizer removed per ton and showing the buyer the fertilizer value of each bale. Sure, the cow uses some of the N-P-K, but there is a fair amount left over for the buyer to use on his fields or to sell as manure. That helps them better understand the value of manure.”
Ron Prokop of R & R Ranch, DeFuniak Springs, FL, shopped around for a good-quality, lower-cost liquid fertilizer. His cost per acre was $35 compared to a neighbor’s $123/acre.