Impact of Fuel Price Increases on Field Operations Cost

Fuel price increases are having a big impact on the costs of operating farm machinery. This has farmers and custom operators alike asking what this additional fuel cost is for different field operations.

The best source of information for fuel use is past records. If these records are not available, estimate annual fuel consumption and costs using the following method:

Average Gasoline Consumption (litres/hour)
= (0.229) x PTO horsepower per hour

Diesel units will use approximately 73% less fuel than gasoline units.

Average Diesel Fuel Consumption (litres/hour)
= (0.167) x PTO horsepower

Annual Fuel Costs
= litres of fuel used per hour x hours of use per year x fuel cost per litre.

For example, a 220 HP combine used 200 hours per year would have an annual diesel fuel cost of $9,185 at $1.25 per litre.
= 0.167 x 220 HP x 200 hours x $1.25/litre = $9,185

Per acre fuel cost estimates at different price levels for selected field operations are presented in Table 1. The litres per acre are estimated using work rates for the different field operations and the above diesel fuel consumption rates. This table does not account for the variation in rates of work or horsepower requirements caused by differences in soil type, topography, field shape, drainage or equipment operators.

For each field operation the litres per acre are multiplied by the fuel price to arrive at the cost per acre. Use the 'Your Farm' column to calculate your field operation fuel costs.

Photo of farm machinery

OMAFRA factsheet, Budgeting Farm Machinery Costs, Order No. 01-075 has more details on the fuel usage and horsepower requirements. To order: call ServiceOntario by phone Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at 1-800-668-9938 toll-free across Canada or 1-800-268-7095 TTY Toll-free across Ontario, in person at ServiceOntario Centres located throughout the province, or on-line at www.publications.serviceontario.ca/ecom/

OMAFRA's Farm Business Decision Calculators website has a number of machinery cost calculators that can help you calculate your total machinery cost at ontario.ca/agbusiness.

Table 1. Per Acre Fuel Costs at Different $ per Litre Price Levels
  Work Rate*
(Ac/hr)
Fuel Use*
(L/ac)
$ per Litre Your Farm
0.80 1.00 1.20 1.40
4-18 in. Furrow Plow
2.8
4.5
3.58
4.47
5.37
6.26
 
6-18 in. Furrow Plow
4.2
5.1
4.14
5.17
6.20
7.24
 
8-18 in. Furrow Plow
5.6
4.7
3.82
4.77
5.73
6.68
 
12.5 ft Field Cultivator
9.0
1.4
1.11
1.39
1.67
1.95
 
18 ft Field Cultivator
13.0
1.3
1.08
1.35
1.62
1.89
 
37 ft Field Cultivator
26.7
1.4
1.13
1.41
1.69
1.97
 
11 ft Chisel Plow
5.9
2.1
1.70
2.12
2.55
2.97
 
15 ft Chisel Plow
8.0
2.7
2.17
2.71
3.26
3.80
 
11 ft Tandem Disk
6.4
1.5
1.25
1.57
1.88
2.19
 
15 ft Tandem Disk
8.7
2.0
1.61
2.02
2.42
2.82
 
4R — 36 in. Row Crop Planter
5.6
1.2
0.95
1.19
1.43
1.67
 
6R — 30 in. Row Crop Planter
7.0
1.4
1.15
1.43
1.72
2.00
 
12R — 30 in. Row Crop Planter
14.0
1.2
1.00
1.25
1.50
1.75
 
4R —- 36 in. Minimum-Till Planter
5.1
1.9
1.57
1.96
2.36
2.75
 
6R — 30 in. Minimum-Till Planter
6.4
2.0
1.57
1.96
2.35
2.74
 
8R— 30 in. Minimum-Till Planter
8.5
2.1
1.65
2.06
2.48
2.89
 
25 ft Grain Drill
4.7
4.6
3.70
4.62
5.54
6.47
 
35 ft Grain Drill
14.9
1.8
1.43
1.79
2.15
2.51
 
12 ft. Presswheel Drill
5.1
2.5
1.96
2.46
2.95
3.44
 
20 ft Presswheel Drill
8.5
2.5
2.04
2.55
3.06
3.58
 
15 ft No-Till Drill
6.4
3.4
2.71
3.39
4.07
4.75
 
25 ft No-Till Drill
8.5
3.1
2.51
3.14
3.77
4.40
 
30 ft Sprayer
15.4
0.4
0.35
0.43
0.52
0.61
 
50 ft Sprayer
25.6
0.4
0.31
0.39
0.47
0.55
 
9 ft Mower Conditioner
4.4
1.6
1.21
1.52
1.82
2.13
 
9 ft Rotary Mower/Conditioner
6.6
1.9
1.52
1.90
2.28
2.66
 
Square Baler
4.4
1.6
1.21
1.52
1.82
2.13
 
Round Baler 1000 lbs.
3.0
3.3
2.67
3.34
4.01
4.68
 
Round Baler 1500 lbs.
4.0
2.5
2.00
2.51
3.01
3.51
 
Large Size Square Baler
16.3
1.3
1.07
1.33
1.60
1.86
 
Round Baler 1000 lb/Wrapper
3.0
3.3
2.67
3.34
4.01
4.68
 
2-Row Forage Harvester
1.4
12.5
10.02
12.53
15.03
17.54
 
Combine 4R—30 in. Corn Hd
2.8
11.4
9.07
11.33
13.60
15.87
 
Combine 12R—30 in. Corn Hd
7.6
6.0
4.83
6.04
7.25
8.46
 
Combine Grain Head 20 ft
6.8
5.4
4.32
5.40
6.48
7.56
 
Combine Grain Head 30 ft
10.2
4.5
3.60
4.50
5.40
6.30
 
Combine Soybean Head 15 ft
4.5
8.2
6.53
8.16
9.80
11.43
 
Combine Soybean Head 25 ft
7.4
6.2
4.96
6.21
7.45
8.69
 

* Source: Budgeting Farm Machinery Costs, OMAFRA Factsheet, Order No. 01-75


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: John Molenhuis, Business Analysis and Cost of Production Program Lead/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 28 July 2008
Last Reviewed: 28 July 2008