Power At Work

Electrical safety must be kept front and centre in our farm buildings

With rural municipalities being absorbed into urban ones, building inspectors may not be knowledgeable enough about farm building technology or the Canadian Farm Building Code. The code must be updated and not dropped, as it has been in other provinces


There is no doubt that safety codes must be in place to ensure that some guidelines are enforced, but unfortunately they can often overrule common sense.

What’s behind the increase in farm machinery reliability?

Quality control, accelerated testing and metallurgy improvements have all contributed to the great strides in farm machinery since those early farm tractors of the 1940s and 1950s


Some of us older people remember when we changed engine oil every 1,000 miles and ground the valves every 10,000 miles. That was pretty much standard procedure for cars in the 1950s.

A century of progress in diesel engine technology

Diesel engines have come a long way since the earliest model designed by Dr. Rudolf Diesel. Fuel consumption of Tier 4 tractors is significantly lower and today’s heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks are 98 per cent cleaner than even those of 10 years ago


In the early 1900s, very crude compression-ignition (diesel) engines were developed to burn low-quality fuel. The earliest engine designed by Dr. Rudolf Diesel was a single-cylinder, two-cycle engine which would burn low-grade kerosene that was much cheaper than gasoline.

The technology revolution in agricultural production

Electronic and GPS monitors have come a long way in 20 years. Today, farmers have much greater computer capabilities available to them than the large computer room at the University of Toronto used to have. What will the next 20 years bring?


In April of 1997, I purchased my first yield monitor for the combine. It was a major step forward in viewing yield responses as I operated the combine. But the fact that I could not draw yield maps to show others limited its real usefulness.

Electric tractors – a step forward in energy self-sufficiency on the farm

Uprated onboard generators and transportable 100 kW batteries are plowing more voltage power into cultivations in Europe


Cutting fossil fuel inputs through more efficient energy application is just one advantage of more electrical power outlets on tractors. For the operator out on the field, the real joy is the simple plug ’n play aspect. Goodbye, at least partially, to dirty and awkward hydraulic hose coupling or struggling with the pto drive shafts. A lot less operational noise, too, in many cases.

Treat your hydraulic hoses with the respect they deserve

Hoses are integral parts of a hydraulic system, but correct routing, physical protection and proper installation are essential if they are to have a long service life


Just recently, I wrote about keeping newer hydraulic systems clean. But it’s just as important to protect the hydraulic hoses that are integral parts of working machines like combines or send hydraulic fluid to remote pieces of equipment for a variety of functions.

A slow uptake for pure plant oil on the farm

Diesel oil substitute straight from the field seems a logical solution for on-farm energy independence. But in Europe the 100-year argument for PPO in the tank still founders on the rocks of cheap fossil fuel and illogical taxation


Rudolf Diesel registered his newly patented engine in 1893 as capable of running on pure plant oil. Was this too straightforward, even then? The conception of home-produced plant oil was largely ignored. Kerosene, and then the oil that took over the name diesel, were soon accepted as more convenient.


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