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 Equipment is Vital to the Agricultural Sector

US agriculture is among the most productive and economically valuable in the world; producing more yield in less time with fewer inputs, due in part to the advancements in the machines and equipment that does the planting, harvesting, and tending of the land. Thanks to their combination of efficient power, performance, reliability and durability, diesel engines power the majority of agricultural equipment in the country and around the world. It is used to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops as well as transport them to markets or processors, and then ultimately deliver the final products to the consumer.

Diesel engines power about 75% of all farm equipment, transport 90% of farm products, and pump about 20% of agriculture’s irrigation 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. Diesel powers 100% of the freight locomotives and inland barge and towboat marine vessels that transport bulk harvested crops such as corn and grain to processing facilities.

In the agricultural sector, there is no cost-effective substitute for diesel engines with the same combination of energy efficiency, power, and performance. Diesel dominates the entire "farm supply chain" - planting the product, tending the crop (watering, fertilizers, and pesticides), harvesting the product, and bringing the product to market. That happens by truck, rail or ship. Farm tractors, combines, irrigation pumps and other equipment are essential tools in an industry vital to our national economy and quality of life.


Farms are increasingly more productive because of the investments in advanced equipment and “smart farming” technologies. Global food production needs to grow by 60% 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 productive and efficient machines, more sustainable farming practices and more efficient farming techniques, will be needed.

The leaders in farm engine and equipment technology like AGCOCumminsJohn Deere, and Yanmar are already delivering.

One way to make farms more productive is in the use of new equipment - tractors and harvesters - that are smarter, more powerful and can do more work, in less time using less fuel. Thanks to decades of research and billions of dollars in investments, today’s advanced diesel equipment on the farm is fundamentally different. These fourth-generation ("Tier 4") advanced technology engines are the cleanest diesel engines ever produced, achieving near-zero emissions, while also being more fuel efficient, powerful, and productive. Meeting these stringent ‘Tier 4’ US emissions standards is made possible by the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced technology diesel engines, and emissions control and exhaust aftertreatment systems.

Today’s new generation of machines further boost productivity and reduce fuel consumption by being highly connected; gathering real time data on location, field conditions and more providing farmers with key insights. Connected and smart farming technology saves time, lowers the use of field inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides by allowing farmers to precisely control and optimize equipment use while minimizing fuel consumption. Autonomous features enable some tractors without operators to be connected and move in conjunction with manned tractors performing certain tasks in the field; all powered by diesel.

The agricultural community – farmers, producers, and growers- have long been oriented towards sustainability as evidenced by their support and expanding production of biobased diesel fuels. Biodiesel fuel produced primarily as a byproduct of soybean crop production is an increasingly important strategy to decarbonize key sectors of the economy. Biodiesel fuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 86% depending on feedstocks, according to the Clean Fuels Alliance America.

Please visit our biofuels page for more information.

Learn more by downloading our report: Clean Diesel Technology for Off-Road Engines and Equipment: Tier 4 and More.

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