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With global population growing and the ever present threat of climate change becoming more apparent, many across the agricultural industry are focusing strongly on sustainability.
From the way we graze and manage water to our use of inputs, we are living in an age where science and best practices are paramount.
So, it's little wonder there is now a discussion going on about Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Not only is it abundant in it's availability, it also has many applications across the industry and is a lower emission alternative to some other fuels.
Here are five beneficial uses of LPG for sustainable agriculture:
1 - Lowering emissions and carbon footprint
As many farmers look to lower their carbon footprint, LPG can be a good option.
LPG is one of the cleanest conventional fuels available. According to Elgas, LPG emits about 20 per cent less CO2 than heating oil and 50 per cent less than coal.
When used in vehicles or machinery, LPG based Autogas is also easier on the atmosphere. In fact, studies have found LPG is 29.2 per cent lower emissions than diesel and 26.8 per cent lower than petrol.
This makes LPG a great alternative fuel source for on property vehicles, machinery and back up generators.
2 - Protecting your crops
LPG is commonly used as an efficient fuel for grain drying and storage systems.
It is important to protect your crops against rain and humidity. Controlling the moisture and temperature levels of your storage, will allow you to preserve your crops for longer and thus increase marketability.
LPG dryers are fully automated and offer a greater range of temperature settings. They're also extremely versatile and can be used on a variety of crops.
3 - Flame weeding
One of the biggest challenges for those who are focused on sustainability is weeding.
On one hand, you need a method that will be effective but you also want to - where possible - avoid the over usage of chemicals.
For this reason, flame weeding has become popular with organic farmers. Flame weeding with LPG gas is a highly effective weed control technique.
Ideally suited for vegetable crops and grapevines, flame weeding uses a direct flame or infrared burner to vaporise the water in the plant.
If the weed is exposed to sufficient heat, it will be dead within three days.
4 - Providing hot water for dairy farmers
Dairy farmers require a constant supply of hot water. Many use gas hot water systems because they are continuous flow, highly efficient and cost effective.
Using LPG means producers no longer need to store hot water in preparation for use, which is cheaper and far more efficient.
LPG also allows producers to avoid the heat loss associated with storing water and the constant power use required to maintain the heated water for when it's needed.
Systems can be custom built to meet the specific needs of the farmer, scaling the output to the quantity required.
5 - Greenhouses and space heaters
Gas heating is used to provide optimal temperatures for crop growth and for management of the humidity in many greenhouses throughout Australia.
Heating may be needed throughout the year, not just in winter, which is why many opt for LPG. They are efficient, cost effective and generation CO2 for plant growth enhancement.
Space heaters can also be used for things like poultry sheds, storage sheds and nurseries.
Advertiser content for Elgas.