Diesel remains the technology of choice for tractors and agricultural machines
In the agricultural sector, there is no cost-effective substitute for diesel engines with the same combination of energy efficiency, power and performance, durability and reliability.
One reason why U.S. agriculture is among the most productive and economically valuable in the world; producing more yield in less time with fewer inputs, is thanks to the advancements in the machines and equipment that do the planting, harvesting and tending to the land. Today, diesel engines power the majority of agricultural equipment in the U.S. and around the world necessary to plant cultivate and harvest crops and transport them to markets or for processing and then delivered ultimately to the consumer.
Diesel engines power more than two-thirds of all farm equipment, transport 90 percent of its product and pump one-fifth of its water in the United States. Ninety-six percent of the large trucks that move agricultural commodities to railheads and warehouses are powered by a diesel engine. One hundred percent of the freight locomotives, marine river grain barges and ocean-going vessels that deliver these products to markets at home and abroad are powered by diesel.
In the agricultural sector, there is no cost-effective substitute for diesel engines with the same combination of energy efficiency, power and performance, durability and reliability. Diesel dominates the entire "farm supply chain" - planting the product, tending the crop (watering, fertilizers, and pesticides), harvesting the product and even bringing the product to market by truck, rail or ship. Farm tractors, combines, irrigation pumps and other equipment are the workhorses in an industry vital to our national economy and quality of life.
Farms have already become more mechanized and productive, shifting from gasoline-powered machinery to more efficient and powerful diesel-powered equipment. But the world is growing and so is demand for more food so farms must become more productive. Global food production needs to grow by 60 percent before 2050 to meet the anticipated demand from an expected population of 9 billion according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. That means 2 billion more mouths to feed. Along with more sustainable farming practices and more efficient farming techniques, more productive and efficient machines will be required. The leaders in farm engine and equipment technology like AGCO, Cummins, John Deere, CASE IH and Yanmar are already delivering.
One way to make farms more productive is by investing in equipment - tractors and harvesters - that can do more work, in less time using less fuel. Autonomous vehicles may be coming soon to city streets but have been around in farming for several years. Today’s tractors are connected to the farmer’s tablet, each other, the dealer, the cloud and the field with real time data tracking and GPS guidance with feedback on everything from ground conditions to direction of travel. This connected and smart farming technology saves time, lowers the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and other inputs to the farm by allowing farmers to pre-program equipment operations precisely to maximize equipment and fuel use while minimizing soil compaction and crop damage.
A recent headline references John Deere’s AutoTrac™ guidance system “Google didn’t lead the self-driving revolution. John Deere did” – and says it all about the innovation and leadership of farm equipment makers. Newer generations have also appeared such as CASE’s fully autonomous tractor. These are but a sample of real-world examples. Through systems like John Deere’s Farmsight to CASE IH’s AFS AccuGuide™ or AGCO’s Fuse precision farming, crop yields, weather and equipment utilization and maintenance reminders are just a touchscreen away.
Thanks to decades of research and billions of dollars in investments, today’s diesel engine and the vehicles and equipment it powers on the farm is fundamentally different. These fourth-generation ("Tier 4") engines are the cleanest diesel engines ever produced. This new generation clean diesel technology is a game-changer for farmers in America and ultimately around the world. With near-zero emissions, these machines are more fuel efficient, powerful and productive, and can use blends of renewable biodiesel fuels, making it a key foundation of sustainable farming, helping reduce the price of crops and food.
Meeting these stringent ‘Tier 4’ U.S. emissions standards is made possible by the clean diesel system which combines ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced clean burning diesel engines, and emissions control and exhaust aftertreatment systems.
Developing nations around the world are demanding that their countries receive the cleanest diesel fuel available. Cleaner diesel fuel and new diesel engines that achieve near-zero emissions are an important part of the strategy to achieve cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will enable them to dramatically improve air quality and the health of their citizens while being able to utilize the advancements in crop management technology.
Learn more by downloading our report: Clean Diesel Technology for Off-Road Engines and Equipment: Tier 4 and More.
FPT Industrial develops clean diesel engines that use a high-efficiency Selective Catalyst Reduction system called HI-eSCR. This video describes the advantages of HI-eSCR including decoupling the emissions from fuel consumption to allow the engine to run at its best efficiency and then tackle the emissions afterwards with the SCR technology - Watch the Video