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November 11, 2019   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

What Does Clean Diesel Have to do with Thanksgiving? (Hint: A lot more than you think!)

Diesel technology helps us realize our agricultural bounty while the latest generation of diesel technology helps us deliver this bounty with minimal impact to our environment.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of feeding 10 people at Thanksgiving this past year was down for the third straight year to $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. Many farmers had a slow start to harvest this season. With freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and high winds, many were forced to wait on the sidelines to get into the fields. But with advancements in diesel powertrains, next generation farm equipment is more productive and can achieve greater yields, using less fuel, with near-zero emissions helping the farmers get back on track to have that turkey and all the sides on your dinner table for Thanksgiving.

Wherever the crop is, there is no cost-effective substitute for diesel engines to power the harvest to efficiently feed the world. Diesel-powered equipment is a major part of the supply chain that moves food from the farm to the dinner table. Diesel engines power more than two-thirds of all farm equipment, move 90 percent of its product and pump one-fifth of its water in the United States.

U.S. agriculture is among the most productive and economically valuable in the world; producing more yield in less time with fewer inputs, thanks in part to the advancements in tractors and machines and the power of the diesel engine. Innovations in farming and food production, as well as increased systems efficiency, are also part of the solution. Like in other sectors, an emphasis on data, connectivity and automation enables smart farming systems and biotechnologies. These machines are often sporting next-generation tech like GPS guidance, autonomous technology and wireless connectivity to maximize equipment and fuel use while minimizing soil compaction and crop damage. Diesel technology helps us realize our agricultural bounty while the latest generation of diesel technology helps us deliver this bounty with minimal impact to our environment.

Farmers have been investing in new tractors and harvesters that are using the most fuel efficient, productive and cleanest technology available. Getting more of the latest generation engines into service delivers immediate benefits to farming communities, as well as the farmers who use them. Replacing older generations of equipment with the latest generation Tier 4 diesel models reduces emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and fine particles by more than 90 percent.

Consider one of the most used and most sold pieces of agricultural equipment - the iconic row crop tractor. Replacing an older generation 375 horsepower row crop tractor manufactured before emissions standards were required beginning in 1995, eliminates NOx and fine particles by over 95 percent, according to U.S. EPA’s Diesel Emission Quantifier tool. That works out to the same NOx eliminated as removing 826 cars from the road for a year and the same fine particle emissions as removing 506 cars. These are substantial benefits that accrue from just one replacement project. Just imagine how many more benefits may accrue from more replacements.

Whether 1,000 commercial acres of grain or a 20-acre hobby farm, farmers need reliable, durable and efficient machines and equipment with adequate power, performance and reliability. This combination of features, along with continuous improvement, is why diesel remains the technology of choice for large and small farms alike.

To meet the leaders in clean diesel agricultural engines and equipment visit AGCOCaterpillarCNH Industrial,  IsuzuJohn Deere, and Yanmar.

Sowing the Future - Farming


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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