WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Diesel prices are up roughly 50 percent from this time last year and farmers need to look at different methods to maximize fuel efficiency, said a Purdue University expert.
The average price farmers paid for diesel fuel in the Corn Belt last April was $2.50 per gallon according to reports from Indiana’s Agriculture Statistics Service, compared to $3.66 per gallon in April 2008.
“This means it’s going to take more money to get the crop in the ground and to harvest it in the fall,” said Alan Miller, Purdue Extension farm business management specialist.
“At Purdue, we’ve estimated it will cost farmers $10 more this year to produce an acre of corn just due to fuel for machinery operation.
“To plant an acre of soybeans, it will cost farmers $4 more per acre than last year and for wheat $6 more per acre.”
However, Miller said machinery fuel is a relatively small part of the total cost of producing corn and soybeans compared to the rest of the operation, at approximately 7 percent.
“This year will be a record year for crop production expenditures,” he said.
Miller recommends 10 strategies to maximize efficiency and reduce fuels costs:
“Farmers should go back to the drawing board and reevaluate their production system from a holistic approach and make changes or adjustments where needed to maximize efficiency,” Miller said.
“It’s often the little things you do that add up more than changing any one big thing.”