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Energy Inputs into the Average Arable/forage crop at Sheepdrove Organic Farm 2003/4

Bentley-Fox, Helen (2004) Energy Inputs into the Average Arable/forage crop at Sheepdrove Organic Farm 2003/4. The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm.

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Summary

This report summarises the energy inputs and outputs for the arable/forage system of Sheepdrove Organic Farm 2003/4.The investigation was undertaken to explore the energy inputs into the arable/forage system.
The first objective of the study was to analyse the on-farm energy inputs into the average of all crops per hectare and put figures to the inputs.
The second objective was to identify significant inputs within the enterprise, to identify possible energy-saving techniques and identify potential alternative sources of energy.
The arable farm manager was consulted and eight different rotations were found for the 2003/4 season. Activities for the crop growth season were identified and per hectare figures were calculated for each activity. The energy use through the season was analysed and presented graphically. The main uses of energy were identified as ploughing, combining and grain drying. Methods of reducing the energy input in ploughing and combine harvesting were identified such as maintenance and use of the most appropriate tractor for the job. Alternative fuels were considered. Bio-diesel was found to be the most viable alternative and a production cost of 27.52p/l was calculated. However since it has a lower energy content compared to diesel it would mean an overall increase in the fuel used. It would mean that the use of fossil fuels would be replaced by a renewable source of fuel and therefore the overall carbon footprint would be smaller. Ways to reduce the power input into the grain dryer were researched such as maintenance, operation method modifications, etc.
Alternative methods of producing the power for the grain dryer were also investigated and it was found that a 6kW wind turbine was the best option. Finally, currently, the most fuel-efficient way to dry grain is using a fan-ventilated system using LPG.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:energy use, arable systems
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Crop husbandry
Research affiliation: UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Deposited By: O'Brien, Josie
ID Code:10322
Deposited On:08 Jan 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:34
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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