Electric Tractors in Farming: 15 Benefits

Monarch Tractor

Electrification is bringing a future of farming that’s greener, smarter, and more sustainable both financially and environmentally. With rising concerns and awareness over the downsides of toxic emissions and the persistent urgency of climate change and poor air quality, the agricultural sector is experiencing a shift powered by electric tractors. 

As farmers deal with the pressing challenges of today, the electrification of farm equipment has emerged as a promising solution and electric tractors are taking a prominent position. According to a March 2024 news release by MarketsandMarkets™ the electric tractor market is projected to grow from USD 0.7 billion in 2024 to USD 3.4 billion by 2030. These tractors represent an innovative leap in the world of farming operations.  

Explore some of the most compelling reasons why electric tractors are not just the future of farming — but a game changer in today’s ag environment. 

What Are the Benefits of Electric Tractors? 

While every farm is different, and the needs of an orchard, dairy, or a crop farmer differ, the advantages of EV tractors being incorporated into a farm remain a key aspect for adopting newer technology.  

EV tractors

1. Zero Emissions 

One of the more immediate benefits of EV tractors is the elimination of exhaust emissions. Unlike traditional diesel tractors, electric tractors have zero emissions. In addition to the role greenhouse gas emissions have on climate change, there are other compelling reasons for a farm to reduce their emissions. Diesel emissions release fine particles into the air, increasing ground-level ozone pollution to the detriment of crops, trees, and other vegetation. It also creates acid rain, which negatively impacts the health of soils, lakes, and streams. Finally, using an EV tractor also gives farming operations a greener sheen, something that’s emerged as a pivotal selling point with today's sustainability and health-conscious consumers. 

Regarding emissions, it’s worth noting that if an electric tractor is charged with electricity from the grid, emissions associated in the tractor’s energy supply chain become associated with the power supplier. This can vary dramatically depending on where a supplier sources its energy. A supplier’s energy bundle can range from mostly clean renewables to still depending on coal, petroleum, or natural gas. For true zero emissions and complete energy independence, farms can install infrastructure for renewable power generation from solar, wind, geothermal, and even methane for dairy farms.  

2. Lower Noise Pollution 

Electric tractors facilitate a calmer farming environment. Much like electric cars, electric tractors operate with a significantly lower noise level. There are safety implications, as well. Farms that engage in nighttime harvest operations, like vineyards, report that using an EV tractor means workers can hear each other and communicate quickly and effectively. In contrast, with a diesel tractor, workers rely on hand signals because they cannot be heard over the noise. This escalates the level of stress for the tractor operator and crews as they worry about safety and precision around the tractor. In dairy farms, farmers can enhance the well-being of their livestock, contributing to potentially higher and better yields.   

 Much like electric cars, electric tractors operate with a significantly lower noise level.

3. Decreased Reliance on Fossil Fuels 

At the heart of the electric tractor revolution lies a deeper objective: reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. By switching to electric tractors, farms lessen (or even eliminate) their need for diesel for a more resilient farm and cleaner future.  

Beyond environmental considerations, there's an empowering independence that comes with this shift. As fossil fuel prices fluctuate and concerns about supply chain disruptions become more real, having a farm equipment lineup that runs on renewable energy sources, like electric power from wind, solar, or hydro reduces a farm’s reliance on external inputs. This aligns with the modern farmer's desire for autonomy and resilience in their farming operations.  

4. Potential for Renewable Energy Integration 

Electric tractors don’t just operate in isolation; they're part of a farm’s larger equipment ecosystem. As farms increasingly incorporate renewable energy solutions such as solar panels or wind turbines, these tractors can be charged using the energy harnessed directly from the farm. This not only amplifies energy efficiency but also ties into the compelling narrative of a self-sustaining farm. 

Farmers are pragmatic individuals. Understandably, justifying the cost for solar panels or turbines, can be a major obstacle for many farms. Traditionally, only a small part of a farm’s equipment was run through electricity. That equation is changing. Monarch Tractor has engineered the MK-V, a smart, driver-optional, electric tractor that serves as both a tractor and data-gathering and reporting hub. As such, it’s a catalyst for a farm transitioning to renewables with a faster and higher return on investment on its renewable energy infrastructure.  

Moreover, because the MK-V is a smart tractor, farmers get a tractor that improves over time with new performance features and software updates. Think of your smart phone being updated for better performance. With the MK-V, not only can cost savings be significant over the life of the tractor, but the tractor itself becomes an appreciating asset, presenting a compelling argument against the ongoing operational costs of a diesel whose static operating features cannot change or adapt to the farm’s needs.  

5. Cost Savings on Fuel 

The immediate economic advantage of electric tractors is the savings on fuel. While there's an upfront investment in the tractor and potentially in on-site charging infrastructure, the ongoing savings from not purchasing diesel fuel quickly adds up — especially with diesel costs on the rise. With electric power, especially when derived from renewable sources, farms can realize a significant reduction in their operational expenses. Monarch Tractor, a U.S. based manufacturer, reports that in its first year on the market, customers saved more than $198,000 in fuel expenses.  

Charger MT_Jan23_Trefethen-15Monarch’s Wingspan Ag Intelligence (WingspanAI) allows farmers to track cost savings by presenting detailed and real-time operational insights. This data can optimize resource usage and reduce operational overheads, leading to substantial cost savings. 

6. Lower Maintenance and Operational Costs 

One of the most overlooked benefits of electric tractors is their reduced maintenance costs. Unlike their diesel counterparts, electric tractors have fewer moving parts, translating to fewer replacement parts and less wear and tear. The absence of oil changes, fuel filter replacements, and exhaust system upkeep means farmers can expect a noticeable drop in their maintenance costs over the lifetime of their electric tractors. The MK-V takes ease of maintenance even further with technology capable of self-diagnosing and alerting farmers of any issues. Farmers can also file service tickets directly from the field on the tractor, for even greater efficiency.  

Farmers can also file service tickets directly from the field on the tractor, for even greater efficiency.

7. Government Incentives and Grants 

As both state and federal governments recognize the importance of sustainability, clean air, and climate change mitigation, various EV financial incentives are cropping up to support the transition to electric farming. In states like California, where electric vehicle adoption is already prioritized, farmers can benefit from various EV tax credits and rebates when they invest in electric farm equipment. Other programs, like EQIP, are being rolled out at the federal level for states that have opted into it. This financial support not only reduces the initial cost barrier and expedites a higher ROI for a farmer, but also underscores the collective push towards a sustainable future of farming.  

8. Long-Term Profitability

Investing in an electric tractor is not just about immediate savings or environmental stewardship; it's a strategic move for long-term profitability. As the world leans into renewable energy and emission regulations become stricter in response to rising healthcare costs associated with poor air quality, the costs associated with fossil fuel-powered machinery, both monetary and regulatory, are set to rise. Early adopters of electric tractors position themselves ahead of this curve, ensuring that their farming operations remain both competitive and sustainable in the long run. 

MT_Feb24_DairyBlade-100 (1)

9. Lower Reporting Costs 

Compliance is a part of modern agriculture. As regulations around emissions and environmental impact tighten, the reporting requirements for diesel tractors have become a significant administrative burden. With electric tractors, which boast zero emissions and fewer pollutants, the compliance landscape simplifies. Farmers find themselves spending less time and money on meeting regulatory demands and more time focusing on their core farming tasks. The MK-V even does the reporting for a farmer, generating easy-to-access metrics on hours of operation, distance covered, average speed, CO2 emissions savings, and fuel savings.   

10. Instant Torque Delivery 

One of the standout features of electric motors, whether in electric cars or farm equipment like electric tractors, is their ability to deliver instant torque. Unlike diesel tractors which typically need to rev up to achieve their peak torque, electric tractors provide immediate power response. This instant torque delivery is especially beneficial when it comes to tasks that demand quick reactions, such as stopping and starting a mower or navigating the compact tractor around obstacles. 

11. Precision and Control 

The era of electrification opens the door to a suite of agriculture tech benefits. One of these is enhanced precision. Modern electric tractors, especially those with elements of automation, are redefining maneuverability and control. Row Follow, by Monarch Tractor, is a semi-autonomous feature that keeps a tractor centered in a row so a tractor operator can focus entirely on the implement inside of diving attention between the implement and the tractor. Autonomous tractor technologies allow farmers to achieve tasks with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency.  

 Row Follow, by Monarch Tractor, is a semi-autonomous feature that keeps a tractor centered in a row so a tractor operator can focus entirely on the implement inside of diving attention between the implement and the tractor.

12. Battery Life  

A common concern among farmers is the runtime of electric tractors. However, advancements in lithium-ion batteries in recent years have propelled battery-powered tractors to achieve operational times that can last a full work shift. The MK-V tractor touts an industry-leading battery runtime of up to 14 hours, which varies based on farm, implement, and operation. Smart usage and efficient management of battery power can result in significant energy savings. 

Batteries can also bring a valuable benefit to farmers in the form of a mobile power wall, if built to do so. A 12V, 110V, and 220V outlet is built into the MK-V so farmers can use the tractor to bring portable power for tool use in even remote areas of a farm. A farmer is, quite literally, empowered to keep work and equipment running even when the grid goes down.  

MK-V Battery

13. Data Analytics 

The tech advancements in electric tractors don't end with their drivetrains. Today's models can seamlessly integrate with data analytics as Monarch has done with its WingspanAI. By harnessing the power of data, farmers can make informed decisions, optimize resource use, and improve yields. Whether capturing footage of plant health, reporting distance covered or averted carbon emissions, or using automated mowing to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides, electric tractors like the MK-V are at the forefront of the future of farming. 

14. Resource Management and Efficiency 

Harnessing the power of electric tractors means more than just making a switch from diesel. It represents a step towards optimized farming operations. With the meticulous nature of electric motors and the tech integrated into them, resource and land management become more streamlined. Whether it's fuel efficiency or the ability to precisely administer inputs, electric tractors empower farmers to better maximize their resources, so water, energy, and fertilizer is utilized more efficiently and effectively. 

15. Healthier Soils 

Soil health is key for sustainable farming. Depleted soils lack organic material, leading to reduced water infiltration, erosion, and decreased crop yields — all of which directly impact a farmer’s income. By pairing electrification with driver-optional capabilities, the MK-V electric tractor makes mowing a financially viable option. When a tractor can mow autonomously a farmer can get the work done efficiently without relying on additional labor to operate the tractor. A farmhand can work on other tasks while monitoring the tractor remotely or even oversee a fleet of autonomous tractors. Other savings emerge as well. Farmers no longer need to spend money on herbicides to control weeds. Without regular applications of glyphosate or other petrochemical herbicides, soil biomes can recover and provide plants nutrients, retain more water and improve crop health and productivity for the long term.  

 A farmhand can work on other tasks while monitoring the tractor remotely or even oversee a fleet of autonomous tractors.

What Are the Considerations When Using Electric Tractors? 

Switching to electric tractors represents a significant investment. While the long-term benefits are undeniable, the initial costs of the tractor and the infrastructure, like charging stations, are a consideration. However, with financial incentives and the potential savings on maintenance and fuel, the ROI often justifies the transition.  

Transitioning to electric tractors can require a small learning curve. Farmers will need to acquaint themselves with some new systems, maintenance protocols, and operating procedures. But new doesn’t mean difficult. Monarch’s MK-V has been on the market since December 2022, and many of its customers openly share how simple they find operating the tractor to be.  

Monarch Tractor Customer Stories

Upgrade Your Farming Operations 

Farmers looking to modernize their operations, reduce their carbon footprint, and harness the power of innovative AgTech should consider the potential of electric tractors. As we push toward a cleaner future, one thing is clear: electric tractors, like the groundbreaking Monarch MK-V, can help increase your productivity, save you money, and boost sustainable yields. Isn’t that a future worth growing?  

Global Market Insights, (2024, Feb.) Electric Farm Tractor Market By Tractors, By Battery, By Drivetrain, By Application & Forecast, 2024 – 2032. https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/electric-farm-tractor-market 

“Learn About Impacts of Diesel Exhaust and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).” US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.epa.gov/dera/learn-about-impacts-diesel-exhaust-and-diesel-emissions-reduction-act-dera 

Alternative Fuels Data Center. U.S. Department of Energy https://afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric-maintenance 

Lauren Fletcher •. “August 2023: Diesel Fuel Price Rises Six Weeks Straight.” Worktruckonline.com, www.worktruckonline.com/10203706/august-2023-diesel-fuel-price-trends#:~:text=Average%20diesel%20prices%20continued%20their 

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