Energy Management on the Farm

7. Identification of Investment Opportunities

There are many opportunities for investment in farm equipment that will improve energy efficiency. Technological advances tend to sell themselves on increased efficiency and it is generally possible to find out the figures for energy requirements so that different options can be compared. The extent to which financing is available for investment is dependent on individual circumstances. However it is helpful to assess potential investment opportunities in terms of payback period, capital cost and potential savings. Examples are given in the table below.

Payback period


Potential Savings (% of fuel)

Free measures a) Switch off equipment when not in use and careful setting of equipment controls e.g. grain drying.

5 - 25%


  b) Planning e.g. transport to ensure shortest routes and optimal loads.  
  c) Reduced implement width to reduce wheel slip.

up to 15%

  d) Wheel ballasting

up to 4%,

  e) Correct load matching of tractors to implement/task.

variable but with high potential

  f) Management decisions e.g. purchasing policy  
Short payback a) Regular tractor and implement service/maintenance

up to 10%


  b) Thermostats/time controls

approx. 30%

Medium payback a) Insulation (double glazing, draught proofing, wall insulation, loft insulation)

up to 50%


  b) Tractor improvements (4WD, power steering, power shift transmission, better fuel efficiency)

approx. 10%

Long payback a) Replacement of inefficient machinery/ equipment (tractors, grain dryers, etc.)

approx. 20%


  b) Investment in renewable energy for heating e.g. solar, straw/wood boilers and biogas plant.  


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