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Posted on: 14/10/2019

Lessons from fuelling the Harvest 2019

CPS Fuels JET Summer campaign pick of the crop

This harvest has seen a number of queries raised regarding fuel and tractor performance by a small number of agricultural customers through their buying groups.

In an article published in Farming Weekly Mr C Townsend explained that this harvest he was changing the fuel filters on his tractor every 100 hours, rather than the usual 500 hours, as filter blockages caused low fuel pressure engine management error codes on his machinery. 

“As soon as the fuel pressure drops, it shuts the power down and stops you using it.”

Mr Townsend said the problem had become so frequent he was now driving around with spare fuel filters in the tractor cab so he could replace them more quickly and restore the fuel pressure to the engine. 

Although CPS Fuels were not the fuel supplier in this instance, Anglia Farmers as the purchasing group, have shared this information with Farming Weekly and other reports with us so that we could assist them in investigating the queries and resolving the issues. Framingham Farmers have also been active in it's investigation and recently produced a statement on it's findings to date:

  • This is a nationwide problem, not restricted to East Anglia, or one fuel supplier/customer.
  • Framlingham Farmers have taken samples and had them independently tested, and these test results confirm the fuel is up to UK standard.

CPS Fuels, as a as a JET authorised distributor with the backing and support of Phillips P66,  have been quick to assist the agricultural community and investigate the queries.

We have also had samples of Gas Oil analysed to test the validity of the comments being made, and are pleased to report that our Gas Oil, supplied this season and taken from sites where queries were raised, was proven to meet the specification BS2869. Results on other samples undertaken by farming groups can be found here



Spec. Limits




Clear & Bright



ASTM D4176 Proc. 2

Density @ 15C


Min. 820.0


BS EN ISO 12185

Kinematic Viscosity @ 40C


Min. 2.00

Max. 5.00


BS EN ISO 3104

Water Content

% (m/m)

Max. 0.02


BS EN ISO 12937

Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP)


Winter: Max. -12.0

Summer: Max.-4


BS EN 116

FAME Content

% (V/V)

Max. 7.0


BS EN 14078


Modern Gas Oil Bunker Tank

During our research we have found that a number of filter manufacturers have revised the suggested replacement schedules to ensure that the performance of the modern diesel engines is maintained during the high work demand period that harvest dictates.

The experience of Mr Townsend, with his error codes and subsequent filter replacement to restore performance, confirms the need for a revised schedule during periods of intensive machinery use. The article published in Farming Weekly  goes on to explain that in a letter to Mr Townsend, the fuel supplier Certas Energy said test results of fuel samples from a number of customers showed that all fuel was on specification. This it true of all testing, irrespective of supplier, or laboratory.  

“Certas Energy have taken this issue very seriously and have investigated our supply chain to understand if any issues have been caused. “We have received certificates of quality from our suppliers that also confirms all fuel delivered into Certas Energy tanks was on spec and to government standards. Certas concluded " fuel quality has not been found to be the issue.

CPS Fuels' investigations have produced the same conclusion - the quality of the Gas Oil supplied is not the problem. Our experience with EN590 Gas Oil, FAME, and fuel storage coupled with a complete examination of the fuel journey including storage whilst in our customers' care has enabled us to research more of the potential causes of the performance issue.

Modern machinery offers higher performance ratings than more traditional kit. A significant proportion of this additional perfomance from the same basic engine design is achieved by more turbo boost combined with increased fuel injector and rail pressure. The peak volume of fuel required to feed the engine has increased considerably across most machinery manufacturers with the volume consumed per hour being considerably higher.

John Deere 9588 engine

The engine and fuel management systems are more sophisticated and able to maximise the efficiency of the engine under load whilst ensuring exhaust emissions are minimised. Unfortunately the systems are both working harder and are more sensitive to fuel supply interuptions or partial starvation. Both are likley to throw engine codes because the desired fuelling for the engine load is compromised, and sufficient fuel flow will not be restored until the filter is changed and the capacity is restored. This highlights the compromise inherant in measuring filter life in hours rather than based on volume throughput. 

Additionally whilst both delivering to and researching the storage arrangements on farms it has become apparent that a number of fuel tanks, filters and pumps are below the standards suggested for the storage of modern fuels with bio components. 

Fuel distributors, refiners and tank manufacturers all have information available to assist in the safe, secure and long term storage of fuels with a bio component. The need for robust fuel tank management will only increase as fuels become more environmentally friendly, with greater precentages of bio blend, to meet clean air targets.  

CPS Fuels have a very experienced tank engineering team who would be pleased to provide help, advice and assistance to all our agricultural customers so they can bring their installations up to scratch and so ensure that the fuel they store is kept and dispensed in the best possible condition.    

To order Gas Oil and farm fuels in Bulk or Barrels click or call CPS Fuels now.

We’re local, we’re best, we’re CPS.

CPS Fuels, as a JET authorised distributor, supply marked EN590 grade diesel as Gas Oil so you have the highest quality Gas Oil available irrespective of use. CPS Fuels Gas Oil meets the same BS EN590 specifications as white road diesel and is therefore suitable for use in all farm machinery without the need for fuel treatments or additives. The fuel properties of Gas Oil are adjusted seasonally to maintain good low temperature performance and operability. 

For our CPS Gas Oil information sheet click here

Phillips P66: Gas Oil safety data sheet & Gas Oil marketing specification sheet

CPS Fuels Supporting you Harvestest