Food supply in both the UK and overseas is very much dependent on oil. In part, this is due to the oil used in food processing facilities, but it is also down to the fact that oil is widely used within agriculture. Although farmers might not be the first people to come to mind when thinking of the various uses for oil, they are among oil’s biggest users.
Why food producers need oil
Modern farmers actually use oil at various stages of food production. Fossil fuels are used in the making of essential agricultural products such as fertilisers, which feed the crops, and pesticides, which help to preserve them for human consumption.
Oil is also required to power and to lubricate farm equipment, including agricultural vehicles such as tractors or combine harvesters. Plastic is produced using oil, and this is used in farming to store and transport produce, such as in large plastic sacks. Once the food is ready to be sold, it is then transported from the farm to shops and supermarkets across the country – and even to other countries across the world. The vehicles and other infrastructure that are required to facilitate this include storage facilities, and are heavy goods vehicles that travel by road and ships. All of these use oil to keep supplies running smoothly. Oil is thus important when to comes to logistics and distribution too.
Lubricant products on the market include agricultural oils, which are specially designed to meet the needs of modern farmers. Whether they possess an ancient tractor or a fleet of brand new combine harvesters, such lubricants are formulated to ensure their equipment performs as well as it possibly can. For farmers, this helps in minimising maintenance costs, and might also result in smoother operations and increased efficiency.
Modern agricultural oils are cleverly formulated, and are designed for minimal environmental impact. This applies particularly when oil is used with the types of equipment that typically experiences a degree of leakage.
As well as being gentle on the environment, farming lubricants have additives that protect expensive farming machinery against wear and tear. The formulas also tend to be highly resistant to oxidisation and corrosion. Less rusting means that equipment should have a longer life, as well as providing a fuss-free performance when planting, watering, feeding or harvesting.
Tractor lubricants, for example, may lubricate both the transmission and hydraulic systems. Additives also help to improve the vehicle’s shear stability and chatter control. Sludge and deposit build-up, foaming and thermal degradation are also reduced by such agricultural lubricants. Farmers can therefore expect a good performance from their machinery, even where there are four-wheel drive transmissions and during the cold weather conditions they must work in.
Why agriculture needs oil
Using specially formulated, high-quality agricultural lubricants can really help to keep the wheels of food production turning, and oil is also used when farming essentials such as pesticides and fertilisers, plus storage sacks and other containers made from plastic. Oil is also used as fuel and as a lubricant for tractors and other farm vehicles, as well as the trucks and lorries that transport the goods to where they are required, ready to be stocked on the supermarket shelves for the public to purchase and consume.