In the not-so-distant past, farmers were able to operate almost entirely self-sufficiently. With horses and other large animals being used to do the bulk of the heavy work, farmers were able to keep their farms moving forward by simply feeding their animals, and this was quite easy.
Nowadays, though, farms use heavy machinery to keep themselves moving, and it takes a lot more than grass and grain to fuel them up. Even those who live in the countryside will rarely see tractors at a fuel station, so how exactly are farms able to power themselves in a world so reliant on electricity and combustion?
Renewable Energy Sources
While farms have to deal with being remote and rural, they also benefit from having a lot of space. This means that farmers are able to take full advantage of the wind, sun, and any waterways they have on their property, with renewable energy sources being very popular in the field of agriculture. It can be very costly to set this sort of thing up, but the power consumption of some farms makes it well worth it, as they would need to build up the infrastructure to their property if they couldn’t generate their own power.
In the UK, those working in fields like agriculture are able to get their hands on a type of fuel known as red diesel. This fuel is very similar to the stuff that comes out of the pumps in a fuel station, only it will be dyed red and won’t come with any expensive taxes. Farms often keep red diesel on their property in great quantities, enabling them to keep their tractors and other machines fueled up without having to leave the farm. Of course, though, farmers can’t use this fuel in their personal vehicles, as the red dye inside makes it illegal for use on public roads. Farmers can buy red diesel drums from local suppliers and have them delivered on a regular basis.
People often assume that farms are simple places, though this certainly isn’t the case. Many of the tools that farmers use are incredibly complicated, enabling power to be conserved using complex physics rather than mechanical might to solve problems. Grain towers are a great example of this. Farmers need their grain to contain enough moisture to hold their weight while being dry enough to avoid mold and other unwanted growth. To achieve this, grain towers use low-power ventilation systems that are able to evenly dry grain by simply moving air around it. Systems like this make it possible for farmers to carry out jobs that require a lot of energy, without having to spend money on the energy themselves.
As you can see, powering a farm has never been more complicated. Gone are the days of being able to feed your machines, but you get a lot of benefits from this, with modern farms being able to grow far more food than their ancestors from the past.