Lean Green Farming Machines

Electric tractor 2 It looks like a kilowatt-driven farming revolution may be poised to take off. From Australia to America, a few innovative farmers are realizing the benefits of plugging into power. According to Autoblog Green, an Australian farmer named Michael Inwood has chosen to power his 200 horsepower truck to plant crops with computer batteries charged from solar panels located on the roof of his garage. This Ausie farmer uses no chemicals, fertilizers or fossil fuels to grow and harvest his seasonal bounty.

Rural Survival declares: “The savings of not having to buy fuel and the dramatic reduction in maintenance, no more fiddling with a carburetor or changing engine oil are attractive enough reasons for an electric tractor.”

At Blue Fox Farm in southwest Oregon, Chris Jagger has converted a 1940’s vintage tractor to run on electricity. He’s not alone. Currently there are over 100 model G tractors like Chris’s ancient electric beast that have been converted to battery power. The advantages of electric tractors are identical in most respects to the advantages of electric cars. Electric tractors don’t belch polluting exhaust, don’t require much in the way of maintenance and are drastically cheaper to fuel. An unexpected — yet logical– side effect is that crops are not coated, contaminated and “exhausted” from farming equipment tailpipe emissions. The result? Healthier, more abundant yields and less contaminated produce.

Another farming trendsetter, California organic dairy farmer Albert Straus, powers his farm’s Toyota RAV4 EV with electricity produced by a methane digester that processes cow waste giving this electric car the notable distinction of being one of the very few poop-powered cars on the planet. Straus’s experience illustrates that electricity–both on and off the farm– can be produced in creative and unexpected ways with electrifying results.


Photo courtesy of Albert Straus

Posted by Linda Nicholes

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