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Machinery Economics

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
Five Strategies for Extending Machinery Life

Machinery ownership and operation is a major crop and livestock production cost. Several strategies when combined can significantly affect costs, improve machine reliability, and improve profit margins.

This Extension publication discusses five strategies to achieve maximum farm machinery life. These strategies are: machinery maintenance, oil analysis, machinery storage, engine tune-ups, and avoiding modification of tractor engines.

May 1, 2009 442-451
Gear Up and Throttle Down -- Saving Fuel
"Gear Up and Throttle Down" is a fuel-saving practice suitable for light drawbar loads (less than 65 percent of full power) when reduced PTO speed is not a problem.

For the most efficient operation, a tractor's engine should be operated near its rated capacity. However, there are many field operations (such as light tillage, planting, cultivating, and hay raking) that do not require full tractor power. This is especially true when older implements, which were sized for a smaller tractor, are used with higher horsepower tractors. Also, many operations should be performed at a fixed field speed.

May 1, 2009 442-450
Investing in GPS Guidance Systems?

The price of GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) guidance system technology continues to decline as its capabilities increase. Many farmers question if or when they should invest in this technology. The major advantage of using GPS is input savings from more precise field application of seed, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel, and labor, as well as increased benefits to the farm production process (extended working time, reduced fatigue, etc.).

May 26, 2009 448-076
Large Round Bale Safety

This Extension publication covers the safety aspects of equipment used in large round bale packages such as: balers, front-end loaders, bale handling and transport devices. The key to safe and efficient systems for handling large round bales is an operator who knows the hazards involved and who follows safety practices that can prevent accidents. Operators must be constantly alert for situations that may cause injuries to themselves or others. Besides pain and suffering, accidents contribute to higher costs in terms of unnecessary downtime or costly machine repairs. Alertness and safety consciousness can result in more efficient and profitable baling and handling.

May 1, 2009 442-455
Lighting and Marking Recommendations for Animal-Drawn Carriages, Buggies and Wagons Jun 16, 2010 3006-1454
Machinery Safety on the Farm

Machines; no farm or ranch can function without them. They save valuable time and are essential to agricultural productivity. They also represent an ever-present danger to the people who operate them. There are a host of hazards that makes agricultural machinery the leading cause of injury and death on American farms and ranches.

This fact sheet summarizes the hazards associated with operating farm machines and presents information about how farmers and farm workers can protect themselves from injury or death when working around agricultural machinery.

May 1, 2009 442-092
Management Tips for Round Bale Hay Harvesting, Moving, and Storage

This Extension publication discusses management of hay harvesting with a large round baler. Specific management practices are necessary to maintain hay quality and minimize hay loss during harvest, transportation and storage of large round bales.

Large round bale packaging systems allow one person to harvest, store and feed large quantities of hay for small as well as large acreages. Proper management is required to maximize effectiveness because losses in baling, transportation and storage of large round bales can far exceed the losses of rectangular bales.

May 1, 2009 442-454
Planning Fencing Systems For Controlled Grazing

Controlled grazing can be an economical way to provide forage to grazing animals. Utilizing pasture as a major portion of the forage plan can significantly reduce feed costs during the grazing season. Virginia's soils and climate are especially favorable for the growth of a wide range of productive, high-quality grasses and legumes suitable for grazing. However, optimizing a controlled grazing system requires careful planning and good management of a fencing system.

May 1, 2009 442-130
Precision Farming Tools: Variable-Rate Application

There are a number of questions that must be answered before establishing a site-specific crop management (SSCM) program. Many of these questions are economic, some are agronomic and environmental, and others are technology-related. This publication is intended to discuss variable-rate devices that are available, while providing an understanding of which technologies might best fit a cropping system and production management strategy.

Aug 1, 2011 442-505
Standby Electric Generators for Emergency Farm Use

An emergency source of power is essential for any farm with mechanically ventilated production facilities, bulk milk-handling equipment, automated feeding systems, or facilities requiring constant and consistent heat or refrigeration. A standby power generator is an excellent investment to prevent costly losses during local power failures. This publication provides guidelines to make the selection, sizing, and operation of standby generators easier.

May 1, 2009 442-067
Using Tractor Test Data for Selecting Farm Tractors May 12, 2009 442-072