Norfolk’s buying group backs ‘greener’ red derv tractor fuel
11:50 05 May 2012
A new high-quality ‘red derv’ fuel to boost tractor performance is now available from Anglia Farmers, the country’s biggest farm buying group.
The key to major tractor efficiency improvements can only be achieved with the best quality fuel, said Ben Turner, managing director of Ben Burgess & Co.
The new red derv is 1p to 2p a litre more expensive than standard, but will transform tractor performance, he added.
“Although the new fuel is more expensive, you’d get that back in extra miles per gallon.”
“We’ve managed to persuade Anglia Farmers to introduce a new fuel,” said Mr Turner.
An additive had to be added to standard red diesel for use in John Deere tractors with the latest low-emission engines.
“It is not good enough for these modern new engines which are now coming into the market place. To get the best performance, these new engines need a better standard of fuel which gives more horsepower and more miles per gallon.”
The new European standard applies to all tractors with engines under 1,000hp. While traditional red diesel can be used by modern engines, it can reduce performance but older tractors can use new red derv without any problems.
The drive for greater ‘green’ efficiency has transformed tractor performance.
“Ten years ago one tractor running in a shed would produce the same mount of CO2 and exhaust particulates as 100 tractors today. The reduction has been immense,” said Mr Turner, who is also president of the Norfolk Farm Machinery Club.
“This shows the amount of change which is why it is so important to put quality fuel into the engine. I don’t think that fuel has been fully valued by farmers in terms of its use and cost. But now the latest tractors’ on-board computers show consumption of gallons per hour, per acre or per hectare. Now farmers are really starting to take notice.
“The new engine emissions standards are also changing our world and to drop the CO2 levels, we need better fuel,” he added. As exhaust from diesel engines can be recirculated, it is possible to reburn some exhaust gases.
Later this year, John Deere will make a further stride forward implementing a technology invented about 100 years ago.
“With gearboxes, we’re just about to introduce a new direct double-drive transmission. It has been used in VW cars. Basically, it is two gearboxes, running side by side, two clutches and one engine. The modern electronics will transform the efficiency of the gearbox.
“This will be a major step forward because power losses though gearboxes have been notorious in some areas,” said Mr Turner.
Award-winning farmer Kit Papworth, pictured, chairman of Anglia Farmers, said that his family’s North Norfolk business would be looking to fuel its high-performance tractors with red derv later this year.
“We bulk-buy our fuel so when stocks have been used, we’ll look to start switching. As these engines are made and tested on continental diesel, red derv will give us better performance.
“Anglia Farmers is desperately trying to ensure that it is an option for our members,” he added.