A third of German contractors are running on biofuels

Nearly a third of German contractors now run their machines on biodiesel and rapeseed oil.

The country’s farmers currently receive a tax break for the first 10,000-litres of diesel they use. The government offers no rebated fuel like red diesel, instead farmers pay the forecourt price – currently approximately €1.10 per litre. They are then able to claim back 21.5cents of the tax but this does not apply to contractors.

“Contractors and larger farmers who use more than 10,000-litres a year have to look at the alternatives,” said Dr Martin Wesenberg of the German Society of Agricultural Contractors speaking at the Agritechnica machinery show in Hanover this week.

“Our members do not benefit from fuel tax breaks and so many of them are buying biodiesel or rape methyl ester – RME – at about 70cents/litre from specialist fuel processors.”

“In fact a number of them are using straight, unprocessed rape oil because it is not as costly and heavy, high capacity agricultural engines running at high temperatures are able to handle the more viscous fuel.”

Demand for biodiesel in Germany from on-road and off-road users is currently outstripping supply. Many of the processing plants are owned and supplied by farmer co-operatives.

For a full report from Agritechnica see Farmers Weekly (Nov 11), p63.