Farmers Weekly Interactive

Santa Gets His Oats

Rising food costs have been troubling poultry and livestock farmers this year so can you imagine what impact this has had for Father Christmas?  I have been using some data from the internet to calculate his feed costs (so forgive my imprecision).

If he takes the most efficient route, starting in the east so that he can take advantage of time zones to get a continuous 31 hours of night time, the distance he needs to travels is about 4 million miles. This means he needs to travel at 45 000 miles per hour.  There is quite a bit of resistance at this speed, this is why he needs a thick coat.

The amount of power required is calculated by force x velocity and works out at around 9.3 million MegaWatts.  His energy requirement is therefore 300,000 MWh throughout the journey. That would take a lot of wind turbines and there isn’t room on the sleigh for the foundations. He would require 1 million acres of solar panels, and it’s night time so that’s no good.

One tonne of petrol releases 10 MWh of energy. This means that if santa was using petrol and the heat from it to power his flight, he would need 30 million litres (a mere £36 million)

But Santa doesn’t use petrol, he uses bloomin’ reindeers, doesn’t he?  His best bet would be to feed them oats. Oats are 66% carbohydrates and 2% fat.  If there are 17MJ of contained energy in the carbs and 37MJ in the fat, and assuming that the reindeers energy conversion is 40% efficient (the rest is lost as heat), then Santa would need to feed 226,000 metric tons of oats through the course of the night

If he were to feed the reindeers with carrots, which are made up of 10% carbohydrates and over 80% water, he would need roughly 1.5 million tonnes of carrots.

Bloomin’ heck.  It makes you wonder what state farming would be in in Father Christmas didn’t exist, doesn’t it?


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