ROCK SPRINGS — Two of the tractors on display at Ag Progress Days can plant and spread manure like any others. The only difference is what they run on: straight vegetable oil.
The tractors are part of a research project by Penn State’s farm operations and services and New Holland Agriculture to find out whether the equipment can run on 100 percent vegetable oil. Glen Cauffman, manager of farm operations and services, said the study is the first of its kind in the country.
"I think our hope is that it is successful, and that New Holland and other major manufacturers begin to make them available to farmers … so that a farmer can choose whether he wants to burn petroleum to make food or whether he wants to use his own crops to power production," Cauffman said.
If the tractors become available in the United States, Cauffman said, farmers could set aside an estimated 20 percent of their acreage to grow canola seed that could be pressed and filtered into enough oil to run a farm.
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