Irrigation and pumping are energy intensive practices that add significantly to on-farm costs. Finding energy efficiencies in your irrigation or pumping will save you money and support the environment.

Energy saving options range from the basic to the more advanced (and costly). Simple measures like looking for leaks and regularly servicing your pumps and motors can save energy and money.  Reducing the need for pumping may also create significant savings.

Upgrading equipment may mean larger initial outlays but return considerable cost saving, e.g. using a variable speed drive instead of valve throttling for pumping or using smart irrigation sensors.

Here are some useful resources to help you find savings in irrigation and pumping.

Learn from others — case studies

Learn more about pump and irrigation efficiency in this series of case studies from the Department of Industry and Science and Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Advisory Committee Inc.’s site, Energy Efficiency Gains for Australian Irrigators:

Read about the Smarter Irrigation for Profit Project and a recent report, in this case study from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Dairy Australia.

See the six New South Wales dairy farms that have installed variable speed drives on their pumps and are consistently seeing energy savings, in this review from Dairy Australia.

A Mareeba horticulture farm found potential energy savings of 61 per cent from a pump upgrade. Read more in this case study from the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, Ergon Energy, and the Queensland Government.

Act now — fact sheets, guides and tools

Watch these short videos about irrigation performance and optimisation, and read this brochure on how energy efficiency fits into your irrigation system, from Dairy Australia.

Explore this NSW Farmers’ guide to making significant energy savings from your irrigation systems.

Read about solar powered pumping solutions, in this guide from the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and NSW Farmers.

Learn more about the opportunities for renewable energy and energy storage for Australian irrigated sugar cane, and applications for other irrigators, in this research report from Ag Econ and Sugar Research Australia.

Get this report on improving energy efficiency on irrigated Australian cotton farms, published by the University of Southern Queensland.

See what the US agriculture sector is doing about energy efficiency in irrigation, in this report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension System.

Know your options — more help and ideas

Victorian Energy Saver provides tools and information to help Victorian Businesses save energy and money.

Page last updated: 31/07/18