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EPA AND EU nonroad emissions regulations: 37-560kW (50-750hp)
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Emmisions Regulations By Year
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Final Tier 4
Clean Air Technology: This example of new engine design from John Deere shows how manufacturers have reduced emissions to small fraction of what they were just five years ago.
Any farmer who owns a tractor near the end of its life will face a major choice over the next 12 months.
Buy a tractor now, before Tier 4 emission requirements kick in, and you could save thousands of dollars on the up front price tag.
Buy a tractor later, and you will likely pay more, but could save money later on fuel costs.
“The technology required to meet Tier 4 emission regulations are adding somewhere between five to 12 per cent to the price of manufacturing a tractor,” says John Fleming, Inventory Manager at Avenue Equipment. “For example, the Kubota 35 horse tractor will go up from $16,900 to $21,900, which is quite a big burden on the farmer, and arguably on the economy.”
For many farmers, the decision has already been made, as certain types of tractors have already become fully Tier 4 compliant. However, orchardists, vineyards and berry farmers are an exception. Many of the tractors designed for these industries are extremely narrow, and those narrow tractors are among the last to become Tier 4 compliant.
“It comes down to research and development,” says Fleming. “Narrow tractors don’t have as much room, so there’s some more work to do in making that work.
“But from our perspective, the best thing we have going for us this year is that we haven’t upgraded those lines yet. Kubota has chosen to carry that line on as Interim Tier 4, and we’re hoping from a price perspective this gives us an advantage.”
Avenue also sells Massey Ferguson tractors, and due to the expected price difference Fleming ordered a full year’s supply of the older model.
There is, however, a bright side, says Chris Thiessen at Prairie Coast Equipment.
“There is no question that improvements made because of these standards has made a huge difference in emissions,” Thiessen says. “The emissions for a Tier 4 machine puts out a fraction of one per cent of the particulates you would get for the Tier 1 standard.
“Even with a Tier 3 tractor, you cannot make it smoke, and a T4 tractor is so clean you can’t smell the exhaust at all.”
Thiessen says in the long term he does not believe there will be a huge difference in the cost of buying and maintaining tractors.
“The manufacturers for the most part have been able to build it into their naturally occurring increases to the cost of production, so most of this has been achieved without major price increases,” he says. “On the other hand, we don’t have any long-term experience with the maintenance end of things. They did design them to last as long as possible, but in fruit the practice is to run your machine as long as possible.
“Could there be a problem when you get to the 10,000 hour mark? We won’t know until we get there.”
Like the Kubotas at Avenue Machinery, many of the John Deere tractors at Prairie Coast have not met the Final Tier 4 requirement yet, which kicks in on Jan. 1, 2015. John Deere’s narrow tractors in the EN line are still shipped with engines that are Tier 3 compliant; much cleaner than Tier 1, but without the engine add-ons to meet the stringent Tier 4 standards.
The rules changed Jan. 1 for tractors from 75 HP to 101 HP, and all diesel engines must comply by 2015. So, for the majority of fruit farmers, there’s a one year window to make the decision to buy a new tractor if they don’t want to go Tier 4 compliant.
“I understand this is big deal for growers,” says Fleming. “Just the one part that goes into the engine to make it compliant is about $3,000 to make, and so I cannot see how they can possibly do this without a price increase. That’s why I ordered a full year’s supply of the Interim Tier 4 tractors; so we’d still have a supply for as long as possible.”
HOW MANUFACTURERS MET THE TIER 4 REQUIREMENT
Emission requirements for diesel began, not surprisingly, in California, and then became federally mandated not long after.
From 2011 onward, manufacturers had to quickly upgrade their engines to meet a much more strict limitation on NOX and particulate emissions. That was done primarily by making the engine itself more efficient, resulting in better fuel economy as well.
But to get that final cut of about six to eight per cent, there are only two options, both of them requiring an addition to the engine.
Option 1 is a system that adds urea into a burn chamber, which turns the NOX into hydrogen and water.
Option 2 is to run the engine cooler, using a diesel oxidation catalytic (DOC), and run the exhaust through a fine filter for particulates.
Some engines used by John Deere, AGCO, Case IH and New Holland are using both Urea and the combination of a DOC and particulate filter.
WHAT DOES THE TIER 4 EMISSION REQUIREMENT MEAN FOR FARMERS?
- A potential increase in equipment prices
- Potential savings in better performance and/or fuel economy
- Healthy Air: Virtually no particulate matter or nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions
- Some changes to maintenance procedures