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Dairy farmers can cut energy costs and save money

22 November 2017

Cows

Help is available for dairy farmers being hit by rising energy prices.

A series of short videos part-funded by Sustainability Victoria and produced by WestVic Dairy show how relatively low cost measures can be implemented in most dairies, and have short payback periods.

A series of best practice guides have also been produced by Sustainability Victoria covering lighting, refrigeration systems, steam and hot water.

Along with regular maintenance and upgrading equipment, Sustainability Victoria’s interim Chief Executive, Carl Muller, said substantial savings could be made.

“Dairies use a lot of energy to heat water, refrigeration, drive equipment and for lighting. While some farmers are installing solar panels to cut energy costs, less expensive things can be done to ensure efficiency is maximised.”

“Improving energy efficiency can save money and ensure the most value is obtained from their long working days.”

“Being part of the push to reduce energy consumption has clear business and environmental benefits. Small improvements add up over time,” Mr Muller said.

Seven things you can do to reduce dairy energy bills

  • Using off-peak electricity to heat water and for cooling milk saves money. Review different electricity and gas tariffs at Victorian Energy Compare.
  • A heat recovery system uses excess heat from cooling and other processes to help heat water.
  • Use solar energy to help preheat water.
  • Insulate hot and cold pipes so less energy is used to keep water or milk at the right temperature.
  • LED lights use less energy, last longer than conventional lights and can be recycled.
  • Ensure lights are turned off when they’re not needed or use motion detectors
  • Regular maintenance of equipment means it will work properly when it’s needed.

Dairy Australia has also published a booklet Saving energy on dairy farms.

Financial help

Sustainability Victoria’s $6.1 million Boosting business productivity program can help farmers and other business operators cut their energy bills.

Opportunities include:

  • Gas efficiency grants of up to $50,000 can help businesses improve energy productivity and affordability. These grants are open now.
  • Energy Assessment Grants are available for businesses for an energy assessment which will identify and implement energy improvements. These grants are open now.
  • The Sustainable Finance Service is available to businesses, property owners, councils and community groups wanting to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. It can connect them to funding and other programs.
  • Materials Efficiency Grants of up to $13,000 are available to manufacturers looking for solutions to their waste problems, help them make more efficient use of materials and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

More information about Sustainability Victoria programs can be found at www.sustainability.vic.gov.au.

Victorian government grants for agriculture can be found at www.vic.gov.au/grants/agriculture.html. Find other Victorian

Government programs to help improve energy efficiency at www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au.