Monday, March 21, 2011

What Methods Have Farms Used to Decrease High Energy Input Costs?

  • Between 2002 and 2008, fuel and fertilizer prices rose sharply, thereby contributing to substantially higher expenses for farm energy-intensive inputs.
  • Across all farms, fertilizer and fuel costs averaged 12 percent of production expenses.
  • For corn, soybean, wheat, and cotton farms, however, fertilizer and fuel costs averaged more than 20 percent of total expenses.
  • Practices adopted to reduce fertilizer expenses, in declining order of frequency of use, included reducing the quantity of input, conducting soil tests, employing precision technologies (for fertilizer, pesticide, and seed applications), and negotiating price discounts.
  • The most common practices used to lower fuel expenses were keeping engines properly serviced, making fewer trips over a field, and reducing the quantity of fuel used.
  • About 40 percent of farmers who negotiated fuel price discounts were able to reduce fuel prices by at least 5 percent.

source: usda