Simple and cost effective method for fuel consumption measurements of agricultural machinery
¹Department of Agrotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 28, 00014 Helsinki,
Finland; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
²Institute of Agricultural and Environmental, Estonian University of Life Sciences,
Kreutzwaldi 1, Tartu EE51014, Estonia; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy saving objectives in agriculture have created a demand for energy consumption figures of single field operations and for total fuel consumption in farm level. Although the fuel consumption of field operations is quite well known in general level, the conditions in different locations and years result in variation between these figures. In order to create an energy analysis for a single farm, a way to measure the fuel consumption on site is needed. The most useful unit for fuel consumption in most of the farming field operations is l ha-1, since it enables the comparison between different farms and years. Using this unit also reduces the effect of uncontrollable factors, for example weather and soil conditions. In this study, a simple and cost effective way to measure the fuel consumption of agriculture machinery in l ha-1 was tested. The fuel consumption was measured by the voltage signal of machine’s own fuel level sensor. The signal was recorded with a voltage data logger, and movements of the machine were recorded with a simple personal GPS-tracker. Manual bookkeeping was also made to provide support for data analysis. A calibration curve was created for each machine to calculate the corresponding fuel level for each voltage reading. Measuring system was inexpensive, easy to install and did not require any modifications to the fuel system. It can also be installed to almost any tractor or other self propelled farm machine. Results showed that this is a useful measuring method with certain restrictions. The measuring period has to be relatively long to obtain reliable results, and therefore the continuous working periods for each working phase has to be long enough. The conclusion was that this kind of measuring system can be used to provide average values for energy analysis and also to detect the critical points in the production system.