Save energy - save money campaign
The Natural Resources Conservation Service supports and promotes conservation practices that save producers money and improve the environmental health of the nation.
Farmers and ranchers can cut input costs, maintain production, protect soil and water resources, reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, and save money by using the conservation practices described on the NRCS website.
The NRCS has developed four energy tools designed to increase energy awareness in agriculture and to help farmers and ranchers identify where they can reduce their energy costs.
The results generated by these tools are estimates based on NRCS models and are illustrative of the magnitude of savings.
The energy estimator for animal housing tool is designed to enable you to estimate potential energy savings associated with swine, poultry or dairy cows housing operations on your farm or ranch.
This tool evaluates major energy costs in lighting, ventilation and heating costs for swine and poultry. It evaluates major energy costs with lighting air circulation, milk cooling, water heating and milk harvesting costs for typical dairy.
The energy estimator for irrigation tool enables you to estimate potential energy savings associated with pumping water for irrigation.
NRCS technical specialists developed this model to integrate general technical information for farm-specific crops, energy prices, and pumping requirement.
The energy estimator for nitrogen tool enables you to calculate the potential costsavings related to nitrogen use on your farm or ranch.
NRCS agronomists developed this model to integrate general technical information on nitrogen use with farm-specific information on fertilizer types, costs, timing and placement.
The energy estimator for tillage tool estimates diesel fuel use and costs in the production of key crops in your area and compares potential energy savings between conventional tillage and alternative tillage systems.
The crops covered are limited to the most predominant crops in 74 Crop Management Zones (CMZs). NRCS agronomists have identified these crops and estimated the fuel use associated with common tillage systems.
The Energy Estimator gives you an idea of the magnitude of diesel fuel savings under different levels of tillage.
It all adds up to savings. Converting irrigation systems from medium or high pressure to low pressure could cut energy costs by up to $100 million annually.
Improving water efficiency by just 10 percent could reduce diesel consumption by 27 million gallons and save farmers and ranchers $55 million annually.
Doubling the amount of no-till acreage (from 62 million acres to 124 million acres) could save farmers and ranchers an additional 217 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, valued at about $500 million annually.
Reducing application overlap on 250 million acres of cropland could save up to $825 million in fertilizer and pesticide costs annually.
More detailed information will be forthcoming in future columns on each practice.
For additional information of how practices can save you money, visit the NRCS office in Kingsville at 401 East King Ave. or call 592- 0309 Ext. 3.