January 31, 2012 — Farmers can use a new Farm Fuel Budget cellphone app to plan their farm fuel budget and use for the next year or more.

John Nowatzki, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist, developed the Android cellphone app for crop producers to compare projected fuel costs and use for their farming operation based on alternate crop acreages, tillage systems and crop rotations.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, which is accessible from the market app on Android cellphones.

Users select the number of acres they intend to plant each year and acreage for each crop, then select the field operations they will use for each crop. The app estimates the fuel cost by year.

The amount of fuel budgeted for each field operation is based on the machinery cost estimates published annually by the University of Minnesota Extension.

These fuel consumption estimates are based on the assumption of 0.044 gallon of diesel fuel per power takeoff horsepower-hour, on average, for each implement type.

Users can select the number of acres allocated to each crop to compare total farm fuel use based on the same number of acres.

"This feature is intended to help crop producers quickly see the difference in fuel consumption on their farm by changing the number of acres allocated to each crop," Nowatzki says. "Because field operations vary significantly for each type of crop, changing the number of acres of each crop grown impacts the total fuel cost for the farm."

By choosing the field operations on each crop, users can use the Farm Fuel Budget app to evaluate the effects of various tillage systems on fuel use. Because each field operation requires a different amount of fuel per acre, users quickly can see the impact on fuel costs by eliminating or adding specific field operations for each crop.

The last user input for the app is to enter the projected fuel cost per gallon. Crop producers can use this feature to see the effect of projected fuel prices on their total fuel budget.

Users are encouraged to evaluate the Farm Fuel Budget app on the Google Play website at https://play.google.com and search for Farm Fuel Budget.