Dairy farms could save energy: study

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New Zealand dairy farms could achieve cost-effective annual energy savings of at least 68.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in the dairy shed, the results of a pilot programme show.

That was a 10% reduction and equivalent to the annual electricity use of about 7100 households. Individual farms could cut milking-shed electricity consumption by 16%, and a post-pilot survey showed 46% of farmers would adopt savings technologies if their costs could be recouped within three years.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Fonterra, the pilot was run across 150 dairy farms in the Waikato, Lower North Island, Canterbury and Otago-Southland in the 2010-11 season.

Jim Miller, of Fonterra’s energy efficiency team, said: “Dairy farms account for 2.3% of New Zealand’s total electricity consumption and the average farm spends over $14,000 on electricity a year.

“Reducing consumption can have a considerable impact on farm costs as well as the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with energy generation.”

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