Why reducing fuel consumption and increasing efficiency is more important than ever

Why reducing fuel consumption and increasing efficiency is more important than ever

Farmers have always recognized that managing and reducing their cost of production brings obvious benefits. But whilst, in the past, this may have been more of an aspiration than a commitment – today, the need to cut fuel consumption and increase operating efficiencies is perhaps more urgent than ever. There are a number of factors driving this imperative.

Rising oil prices affecting input costs

Firstly, input and operating costs are now starting to rise. Although the increases are currently small and stem from a relatively low base, prices are starting to creep up as oil prices recover from the dramatic cuts seen at the beginning of the pandemic when the demand for fuel fell sharply. From a low of $17.66 (£13.61) per barrel in April, the oil price has climbed to $45.19 (£34.82) per barrel in August.

As sure as night follows day, the rising price of oil is bound to be reflected in increases in gas and electricity. Higher oil prices will almost certainly have an impact on Nitrogen fertilizer prices. If they haven’t already increased them, fertilizer suppliers will be assessing their prices to offset their own increased costs and insure against continued uncertainty in global commodity markets. An expected increase in demand for ‘N’ in the coming season could add further pressure on prices.

Elsewhere, feed prices are looking as though they will be a little higher this year compared with last. And, although diesel and red diesel prices are still low when compared with the same period last year, they too are starting to turn a corner – upwards.

Poor harvest taking its toll

The second and arguably the most pressing issue for farmers is that the historic reductions in yields this year will drive up their costs per tonne, especially for growers of spring barley, winter wheat and oilseed rape. As reported by AHDB Lead Analyst, Mark Topliff, this is despite input costs staying low and generally steady over the past twelve months or so. The challenge for many arable farmers around the country is to find ways to maximise margins or to at least reduce anticipated losses to a minimum. In either case, that means cutting costs wherever possible. Farmers in other sectors have different problems. For dairy farmers it’s a constant battle to get a fair price for their produce (let’s hope the Dairy Contract Reforms being championed by the NFU come up trumps!), whilst sheep farmers have experienced a drastic decline in demand for fleeces as the pandemic forced large hotels and cruise liners to close, effectively shutting down the market for new carpets. While political initiatives are being discussed to redress the balance, dairy and sheep farmers must also strive to reduce their costs by whatever means possible if their businesses are to have a viable and ultimately profitable future.

‘Net Zero’

There is a third factor that has an important bearing on the need to reduce fuel consumption and increase operating efficiencies. And that is the campaign to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a key driver of climate change. We’ve already seen how climate change characterized by extreme weather patterns is badly affecting crops and farm businesses across the country. The agricultural industry, perhaps more than most, appreciates the value of cutting GHG emissions and is in a prime position to do so.

The NFU’s ‘Net Zero’ campaign encourages farmers to aspire to be climate neutral by 2040, that’s ten years ahead of the government net zero emissions target for the UK as a whole. The three pillars of the NFU campaign are (a) increasing carbon stores, (b) boosting renewables and bioenergy production, and (c) improving productivity and reducing emissions – the latter outlining a range of measures that farmers could consider  including reducing their consumption of fuels and electricity and preventing soil compaction. Whatever options are right for individual farms, marginal gains are seen as being crucial to success.

How Lynx can help

There are a number of Lynx products and services that can help you to make those all-important marginal gains and help you save money by reducing your farm machinery fuel consumption and operating costs.

Cut fuel costs by up to 20%

The Optima tractor engine tuning system from Lynx POWERtech can slash your fuel costs by as much as 20%, reducing fuel burn for cleaner, cooler running. It can also increase your tractor’s power and torque, enabling you to haul more and work faster. Optima is purpose-designed for your tractor make and model and is set up by your Lynx dealer to achieve the efficiency and performance improvements you require. There is no intervention with the tractor’s Engine Control Unit (ECU). Your tractor’s error code detection program stays intact ensuring that the ECU will protect your engine at all times.

Maximise cooling efficiency

Flexxaire reversible cooling fan technology delivers only as much airflow as required, creating exponential fuel savings compared to conventional cooling packages or increasing productivity by freeing up power for your machine. In reverse mode, Flexxaire fans purge dust and debris from radiators. This ensures radiators are kept clean and operational at all times. No more costly downtime for manual cleaning.

Solving the weight problem

Getting the ballast right for your tractor is essential if you’re looking to maximise efficiency and reduce your diesel costs. The minimum requirement is applying enough weight for the tractor to pull the implement. The slower the pull, the more power required and the more ballast you need. However, using a heavily weighted tractor for light applications or road work simply wastes fuel. Lynx offers a wide range of weight packages to ensure you get the perfect match for your tractor and the task at hand.

Towing without the high-wear hitch

Other money-saving ideas include replacing your old hook and eye towing arrangement with a Dromone Ball and Spoon coupling system. You can expect up to 90% less wear and hitch damage compared to traditional towing rings. The Ball and Spoon system eliminates the need to remove the hook and eye for re-welding, often every season. Dromone estimates that by making this simple switch, you could save up to £500 every year on operating costs.

Lynx engineering -

All Loaded up and on her way home. We had a great time at the Ripon Farm Services Show with many reminiscing stories and plenty of compliments about our 6800 and attachments. It makes all of those long hours from the team restoring her worthwhile.  

Lynx engineering - @Lynxengineering

We had a great time at the Ripon Farm Services Show, with many reminiscing stories and plenty of compliments about our 6800 and attachments. The main question is, where to go next for the 6800?