GROWERS WILL feel the tight pinch of diesel's price climb during harvest when combines use more fuel than most other field operations, such as spraying. Craig Dobbins, Purdue University, estimates that growers use an average of 2.02 gal. of diesel fuel/acre to combine soybeans. At a price of $3.00/gal. for diesel fuel, soybean harvest costs $6.06/acre for fuel alone. Diesel fuel required to combine 165 bu. of corn/acre is even more at 2.4 gal./acre, which amounts to $7.07/acre. Diesel priced at $3.50/gal. costs $7.07/acre for soybean harvest and $8.40/acre for a 165-bu. corn harvest.
Most other field operations use much less fuel, like planting no-till corn at 0.53 gal./acre and disking at 0.49 gal./acre. — Top Farmer Crop Workshop Newsletter, June 2006