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Energy Use on Farms and Ranches

Energy is one of the more expensive components of raising crops and livestock. In fact, United States Department of Agriculture economists found nearly half the cost of production was being spent for energy because of rising energy costs. fuel from corn for ethanol tractors

In this issue, the Quarterly profiles the ups and downs of using cow power, looks at conservation tillage from an energy cost standpoint and includes a series of presentations from a national conference.

A Cautionary Tale on Cow Power
Cow Power: Distributed Generation Down on the Farm, by Lyn Corum in the September/October 2005 issue of Distributed Energy provides a summary of state government initiatives for dairy farms to incorporate renewable energy systems. Despite the best intentions, generating power from renewables on dairy farms hit a number of snags.

New Math: Will Fuel & Fertilizer Bills Drive Adoption of Conservation Tillage, by Steve Werblow in the November 2005 issue of "Partners from the Conservation Technology Information Center". The author takes a look at the increasing appeal of conservation tillage as farm diesel prices continue to rise. According to the author’s research, using $2/gallon diesel – a no-till corn crop consumes $9.14/acre, while conventionally-tilled corn uses considerably more at $14.17/acre. According to a University of Nebraska – Lincoln agricultural engineer, profits will be crimped by high fuel prices.

Load Management controls save energy in chicken and hog operations ACEEE Conference: Energy Efficiency in Agriculture
A website packages all the presentations from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s Forum on Energy Efficiency in Agriculture held on November 14-16, 2005 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The three-day session on Increasing Energy Efficiency in the Agriculture Sector: Farms, Ranches, and Rural Small Businesses featured more than 50 presentations of which 42 are available online. The scope of the conference topics was as wide as the Platte River: From How Energy Is Used in Agriculture, Why It Is Important, and Where It Is Going to Load Management on Farms and Ranches to Precision Agriculture to Energy Efficiency Issues in Grain Handling and Drying. Nebraska Public Power District's Cory Fuehrer participated in the session Financing and Funding Energy Efficiency in Agriculture.

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