Energy Estimator: Tillage is an "energy consumption awareness tool". This version of the tool estimates diesel fuel used in the production of selected crops across common tillage systems in your area. Other NRCS tools include energy consumption across different nutrient management systems, irrigation systems and animal housing systems. These tools are intended to give you an idea of the magnitude of energy savings that you could incur under different management scenarios.
Steps to use the Energy Estimator: Tillage
Step 1: ZIP code.
Your ZIP code identifies the Crop Management Zone (CMZ) that you are in. eCAT selects crops that were identified as having the greatest harvested crop acreage in your CMZ using production data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service for 2004. They may not be the most common crops in your immediate neighborhood but are significant crops in the Crop Management Zone.
Step 2: Crop Acreage and Fuel Cost
The crops identified are the crops with the greatest harvested acreage in the Crop Management Zone identified by your ZIP code as indicated in red on the map. If you do not grow a particular crop leave the box blank. Enter your diesel fuel cost in dollars and cents (i.e., 2.30).
Step 3: Fuel Consumption and Cost Estimates.
The table below indicates your cost of fuel used and the amount of fuel used by each tillage system. If you would like to create new reports using a different price for diesel, enter the diesel price in dollars and cents (i.e., 2.30) and press the RECALCULATE button.
What is a Crop Management Zone?
A Crop Management Zone is area of the country that has a similar climate and crops. These zones cross state, county and town borders. Seventy-eight Crop Management Zones have been identified for the United States and its territories. Although the zones are not uniform, in general, agriculture is more similar within a Crop Management Zone than between Crop Management Zones. (http://fargo.nserl.purdue.edu/rusle2_dataweb/NRCS_Crop_Management_Zone_Maps.htm)
How were estimates made?
The fuel use estimates are based on per acre fuel uses found in the literature on typical cropping & tillage systems in your area. These estimates are based on field conditions that existed in test trials cited in the literature. An example of the literature which supplied fuel consumption usage is "Estimating Farm Fuel Requirements" by H.W. Downs and R.W. Hansen (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/FARMMGT/05006.html)
Why are some of the estimates blank?
Tillage systems have evolved over time based on crop and climate conditions. In some situations, what we consider conventional tillage systems may not apply. Additionally, certain conservation tillage systems are not employed in these areas either. To the best of our ability and the information received at the present time, we have focused on these representative tillage types for crops in your Crop Management Zone. Therefore some of the crop/tillage systems are represented with an * or are blank.
If your crop and/or tillage system is not represented in the current set of options, please feel free to suggest them to us by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Energy.
These systems involve primary tillage utilizing moldboard plows or heavy disks followed by one or more secondary tillage, planting and row cultivation operations that bury nearly all previous crop residue. All of the soil is disturbed. These systems also include harvest and fertilizer and pesticide applications.
These systems involve primary tillage of chisel plows or other non inversion implements followed by one or more secondary tillage, planting and row cultivation operations that leave some previous crop residue on the surface. All of the soil is disturbed. These systems also include harvest and fertilizer and pesticide applications.
These systems involve planting row crops on ridges created by ridging cultivators during the previous year's crop. The top of the ridge is skimmed off during planting and the ridge rebuilt during one or two row crop cultivations during the first month or two of crop growth. These systems also include harvest and fertilizer and pesticide applications.
These systems consist of fertilizer and planting operations in strips that involve disturbance of approximately half of the inter row area. The remaining soil and residue is undisturbed. These systems also include harvest and fertilizer and pesticide applications.
These systems consist of fertilizer and planting operations in narrow strips or slots that involve disturbance of less than one third of the inter row area. The remaining soil and residue is undisturbed. These systems also include harvest and fertilizer and pesticide applications.