Growers who irrigated with propane-powered irrigation engines reduced fuel costs by more than 40% in 2014, according to research results from the Propane Education & Research Council's Propane Farm Incentive Program.
"Results show that propane engines are economical, reliable, and offer the performance needed by today's farmers," said Cinch Munson, PERC's director of agriculture business development. "Alternative fuel engines running on propane cost less to purchase and operate than Tier-4-compliant diesel options, and the performance is excellent."
Participating growers from 21 states installed and tested 87 propane irrigation engines from seven different manufacturers. Over the course of 2014, participants used the engines to irrigate nearly 9,000 acres of 10 different crops.
Propane irrigation engines also garnered positive performance and satisfaction ratings from growers. In a post-season survey, 95% rated irrigation engine performance as a four or five on a five-point scale. The same percentage said they would purchase another propane engine and recommend propane irrigation engines to other growers.
On top of increased efficiency and fuel savings, recent research shows that propane irrigation engines reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11% versus diesel, and 20% compared with gasoline.
"Today's propane engines are built from the ground up to run on propane, which leads to greater reliability and efficiency," Munson said. "Not only do they cut growers' costs, but they do so while using an American-made energy source that's better for the environment."