The latest generation of cleaner, more efficient diesel agricultural machinery will be showcased at the 46th World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA this week, according to Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
More than 1,400 exhibitors from 70 countries are participating in the World Ag Expo – the world’s largest annual agricultural exposition - from February 12 to 14. The expo is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors during the three-day event.
“Diesel powers more than two-thirds of all the machinery on America's farms because of its power, efficiency and reliability,” Schaeffer says. “Farm tractors, combines, balers, irrigation pumps and other equipment are the workhorses in an industry vital to our national economy and quality of life.
“Diesel offers an unmatched range of performance and economic advantages over other forms of power, including better durability, greater energy efficiency, increased engine safety, more low speed torque and suitability for very large applications. Thanks to this combination of attributes, the diesel engine is a mainstay for non-road equipment that serves a variety of industry sectors."
Tier 4 Technology Significantly Reduces Emissions From New Diesel Machinery
The expo will include some of the newest examples of modern clean diesel technology, Schaeffer says.
Clean diesel technology is now the standard for all new technology - everything from new passenger cars and pick-up trucks to highway commercial trucks. The new generation of technology is another iteration of the clean diesel system: cleaner, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels; advanced engine controls and combustion improvements coupled with emissions control technology (particulate traps and filters).
“This new generation of clean diesel technology for off-road engines and equipment began making its way onto farm fields, construction and industrial jobsites around the country,” Schaeffer says. “The Tier 4 federal air emissions standards were established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and apply to new diesel engines used in off-road equipment. Essentially it requires manufacturers to reduce the levels of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) to a level that is 50 to 96% lower than existing generation of diesel engines. It is important to note that Tier 4 emissions requirements apply to new products only and do not apply retroactively to any existing machines or equipment.
“Implementation of the Tier 4 standards is occurring in two phases. The first phase that began in January 2011 and is designed to virtually eliminate particulate matter emissions. The second phase which will begin in 2014 will similarly bring the nitrogen oxide emissions to near-zero levels. In each case, the standards will be phased in based on engine size.”
Diesel Vital in All Stages of Farming - From Planting to Getting Products to Market
“In addition, diesel is used in more phases of crop ‘development’ than in other industries. Diesel vehicles are used to plant the product, care for the product - through watering and applying fertilizers and pesticides - harvest the product, and even bring the product to market for processing.
“The use of diesel generators and pumps for agricultural operations is critical in remote locations. This permits ranchers to perform critical tasks, and saves time and effort by increasing productivity. In addition, diesel-powered equipment is a major part of the supply chain that moves crops from the farm to the dinner table. Nearly 90% of all agricultural trucks in the U.S. are diesel powered.
“No other power sources shares the durability and efficiency of diesel that is required for agriculture’s demanding work,” Schaeffer says. “This has resulted in significantly increased productivity by our farmers and lower foods costs for all Americans.”
Diesel Machinery Has Increased Food Crop Output By Nearly 80%
Schaeffer says food crop output rose by nearly 80% between 1974 and 1994 largely due to increased use of diesel powered equipment.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture attributes this dramatic 80% increase in food crop output - with no corresponding increase in agricultural energy use - substantially to the increased use of efficient diesel-powered machinery rather than gasoline-powered machinery,” Schaeffer says.
“There is no cost-effective substitute for diesel in tractors and other farm equipment that can provide the sufficient power to pull the necessary equipment weight at slow speeds while providing remote portability.”
According to a recent economic report issued by the Diesel Technology Forum, in 2009 agriculture produced $330 billion in output, of which $27.2 billion was for farm sales, contributing $176.6 billion to the nation’s GDP. Total added value of agriculture to the U.S. economy is estimated to be $365 billion. Farms employed 2.1 million in 2008.