Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) for Biofuel Production

Safflower Field Trials at Utah State University Extension

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a crop once grown for its dye now is grown for its oil in parts of Canada and the United States (50 percent of U.S. acreage is in California). Safflower is drought resistant and can be planted in irrigated and dryland areas as long as soils are well drained. Cool, wet soils delay uniform emergence, and periods of heavy rain can increase disease levels and reduce yields.…

Step Controllers Optimize Greenhouse Energy Use

This is a four-step controller with a solar sensor shield and shielded shielded cable, suitable for greenhouse use.

A step controller is an advanced electronic device that controls conditions in a greenhouse better than a mechanical thermostat and can save money in the long run. It uses a solid-state integrated circuit to monitor environmental data in the greenhouse and create output signals that activate equipment based on a set of internal programmed instructions. The microprocessor is a simple, low-cost device …

Introduction to Farm Equipment Energy Efficiency


Photo: Jason Johnson, NRCS.

Farms have lots of equipment, and most of it uses energy. In some cases, increasing the efficiency of a single piece of equipment or an operation can result in significant energy savings, especially over time. In other situations, many small improvements in efficiency and conservation across the farm can add up to meaningful reductions in energy use and operating costs.

In field-crop based agriculture, liquid fuel use in field operations is equivalent to fertilizers and pesticides …

Selecting Engine and Travel Speeds for Optimal Fuel Efficiency

Photo: Gary E. Wyatt.


The speed at which tractor engines are operated, travel speed in the field, and the load tractors pull all have a major influence on the fuel efficiency of the equipment. Running equipment at optimal speeds and loads can save significantly on fuel costs.

Optimizing Travel Speed

Field travel speed is a major factor in matching tractor to implement. For many operations, the most desirable travel speed is from 5 to 7 miles per hour (6.4 …

Match Implement Size to Tractor to Save Fuel


Photo:  Gary E. Wyatt.

Matching tractors and implements of appropriate size is a major management decision facing many farmers and ranchers. Proper sizing will minimize time and labor requirements while maintaining efficient field operations.

If the tractor is oversized for the implement, fuel consumption and costs will be higher than necessary for the work done. According to data from Lazarus, a 200 HP MFWD tractor costs $24.27 more per hour of use than a 130 HP MFWD tractor; costs …

Energy-Efficient Use of Fertilizer and Other Nutrients in Agriculture

This equipment is broadcasting fertilizer to build overall soil fertility. Photo: Andy Harper.


An important way farmers can conserve energy is making efficient use of fertilizers and other nutrient sources. This article will introduce farmers to the concepts of fertilizer energy and efficient nutrient use. It discusses how to optimize fertilizer use by soil testing, fertilizer placement, and application and by using farm manures and cover crops as part of a soil fertility plan. It includes a discussion on …

Root Zone Heating Systems for Greenhouses

Root zone heating is an effective option for greenhouses that provides heat directly to the growing media rather than heating the air of the greenhouse. This approach provides a triple benefit for greenhouse growers: faster production, higher quality crops and energy savings. If the root zone temperature is maintained at the optimum, air temperature in the greenhouse can be lowered 5 to 10 degrees F., reducing heat loss to the outside and therefore, reducing energy consumption. This is possible because …

Ventilation and Cooling Systems for Animal Housing

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Livestock production is significantly influenced by animal health and comfort. Ventilation of animal housing to remove moisture and odors and replacing them with fresh air is necessary for livestock productivity. Ventilation also provides air movement that promotes cooling and improves air quality for confined animals. While good ventilation contributes to profitability, if not properly designed, the energy used by a cooling and ventilation system can …

Selecting and Maintaining Greenhouse Thermostats

How would you like to reduce your annual energy costs $100 to $200 for a simple 15-minute maintenance procedure in your greenhouse? This is the potential fuel savings from properly heating a greenhouse by improving the accuracy of a heating thermostat. There are few minimum labor tasks that will give this large a return.

The above savings is based on a 30-foot-by-100-foot double covered greenhouse where the average winter temperature is 25 degrees F. and the fuel costs are $15…

Introduction to Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Livestock Production

Many energy conservation and efficiency strategies can be applied to dairy, livestock and poultry production to save money and reduce fuel consumption. These include energy-efficient building design, and better management of ventilation and cooling of buildings.

Use of efficient systems for vacuum pumps, cooling milk and heating water can save money on dairy farms. Most farms can find savings by replacing incandescent lighting with high efficiency fluorescent lighting, and may also save by upgrading livestock water fountains to energy-free …