Conservation Practices Contribute to Energy Efficiency and Fuel Savings
Farmers and ranchers can cut input costs, maintain production, protect soil and water resources, reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, and save money by using the conservation practices described on this web site. Check with your local NRCS office to find out about your area's options.
It All Adds Up to Significant National Energy Savings
Producers with animal feeding operations can save up to 250 million annually nationwide by regularly maintaining their ventilation and heating systems and using more energy-efficient fixtures and equipment for animal housing.
Converting irrigation systems from medium or high pressure to low pressure could cut energy costs by up to $100 million annually.
Improving water efficiency by just 10 percent could reduce diesel consumption by 27 million gallons and save farmers and ranchers $55 million annually.
Doubling the amount of no-till acreage (from 62 million acres to 124 million acres) could save farmers and ranchers an additional 217 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, valued at about $500 million annually.
Doubling the application of manure-based nitrogen to replace fertilizer produced from natural gas could save $825 million and 100 billion of cubic feet of natural gas annually.
Reducing application overlap on 250 million acres of cropland could save up to $825 million in fertilizer and pesticide costs annually.
NRCS Energy Tools
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed four energy tools designed to increase energy awareness in agriculture and to help farmers and ranchers identify where they can reduce their energy costs. The results generated by these tools are estimates based on NRCS models and are illustrative of the magnitude of savings. Please contact your local NRCS office for additional assistance.
Energy Estimator: Animal Housing
The Energy Estimator for Animal Housing tool is designed to enable you to estimate potential energy savings associated with swine, poultry or dairy cows housing operations on your farm or ranch. This tool evaluates major energy costs in lighting, ventilation and heating costs for swine and poultry. It evaluates major energy costs with lighting air circulation, milk cooling, water heating and milk harvesting costs for typical dairy. This tool does not provide site specific recommendations.
Energy Estimator: Irrigation
The Energy Estimator for Irrigation tool enables you to estimate potential energy savings associated with pumping water for irrigation. NRCS technical specialists developed this model to integrate general technical information farm-specific crops, energy prices, and pumping requirement. This tool does not provide field-specific recommendations.
Energy Estimator: Nitrogen
The Energy Estimator for Nitrogen tool enables you to calculate the potential cost-savings related to nitrogen use on your farm or ranch. NRCS agronomists developed this model to integrate general technical information on nitrogen use with farm-specific information on fertilizer types, costs, timing, and placement. This tool does not provide field-specific recommendations.
Energy Estimator: Tillage
The Energy Estimator for Tillage tool estimates diesel fuel use and costs in the production of key crops in your area and compares potential energy savings between conventional tillage and alternative tillage systems. The crops covered are limited to the most predominant crops in 74 Crop Management Zones (CMZ's). NRCS agronomists have identified these crops and estimated the fuel use associated with common tillage systems. The Energy Estimator gives you an idea of the magnitude of diesel fuel savings under different levels of tillage.
Conservation Practices that Save - Feature Articles