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Online tool compares energy efficiency of dairy sheds in NZ

Online tool compares energy efficiency of dairy sheds across NZ

Dairy farmers could save $42 million through electricity efficiency measures in the dairy shed, and now an online tool is available that gives individual farmers an idea of how well they are making use of the electricity they pay for.

EECA BUSINESS has launched the Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency tool, which compares a dairy farm’s electricity use to other dairy farms in New Zealand, and to best practice.

The average New Zealand dairy farm spends over $20,000 a year on electricity, but dairy sheds vary a lot in how efficiently they use their electricity, says Kirk Archibald, EECA projects and relationship manager.

“Some dairy farms are using three times as much electricity as others for the same milk-solids production.”

Overall, dairy farmers could save $42 million a year through cost effective technologies and simple actions.

“The Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency tool is designed to help dairy farmers see if they are missing out on making significant savings.

“By answering a few simple questions, you can map your energy use against 150 dairy farms across New Zealand. You can find out how you compare against others, and the improvements that would make a difference in your milking shed,” Kirk Archibald said.

Overall, New Zealand’s 12,000 dairy farms use $251 million worth of electricity, or 7% of New Zealand’s total electricity use. It is estimated that electricity contributes 15c to the cost of every kilogram of milk solids produced.

Interim results from a programme run by EECA show dairy sheds have reduced electricity use by around a fifth after installing heat recovery equipment.

Energy data collected from 15 farms shows that energy efficiency upgrades have reduced electricity use by 21% overall, meaning projects will have paid for themselves in under 3 years on average.

Currently 37 farms are taking part in the EECA BUSINESS Dairy Shed Heat Recovery Programme, in which EECA provides advice and funding to farms to reduce electricity use.

Energy efficiency changes include heat recovery, variable speed drives and vat insulation.

Further farms are being encouraged to take part in the EECA BUSINESS Dairy Shed Heat Recovery Programme with funding of up to 40% of the cost of energy efficiency changes available to dairy farmers until 30 June 2014. Details can be found at www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/dairy-farms

To see how your dairy farm measures up, try the EECA BUSINESS dairy shed electricity efficiency tool at www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/tools/dairy-tool

The tool will feature at DairyNZ’s Milksmart events around New Zealand between 18 February and 20 March. See www.milksmart.co.nz for more information.

ENDS

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