Energy use varies between cropping and livestock farms, and by different crop types, but contributes significant cost in most broadacre farm budgets. Using less energy can help keep a farm profitable and reduce its environmental impact.
Diesel is the main energy cost on most broadacre farms, averaging over 85 per cent of total energy used. Look at ways to use less diesel when running tractors, harvesting equipment, farm vehicles and irrigation pumps. Have you tried changing driving methods, ballasts or tyre pressures on tractors, choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles, or upgrading pumping equipment?
Electricity is another key cost. Look at ways to use less in lighting, refrigeration, grain dryers, pumps, and irrigation. Could you change grain drying methods, optimise irrigation, switch to LED shed lighting, or use minimal tillage cultivation methods?
There are plenty of actions you can take to cut your energy costs. Here are some of the best resources to get started.
Learn from others — case studies
Many farm types use irrigation. See what some Queensland operations did to get energy gains in irrigation, in these case studies by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation:
Get the results of a pump efficiency trial on a Goondiwindi cotton farm, in this case study from CottonInfo . This Cotton Info case study on crop irrigation explores savings on a Darling Downs operation.
Act now — fact sheets, guides and tools
Minimum tillage cultivation reduces machinery operating hours and fuel use, plus has other potential benefits. Learn more at Agriculture Victoria.
See a range of resources for improving the energy efficiency of irrigation systems in Energy Efficiency Gains for Australian Irrigators, a guide from the Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Advisory Committee and the Department of Industry and Science.
Read about improving energy efficiency on irrigated Australian cotton farms, in this report from the University of Southern Queensland (and partners).
See what the US is doing about energy efficiency in field crop production, in these resources from extension.org.
Know your options — more help and ideas
Victorian Energy Saver provides tools and information to help Victorian Businesses save energy and money.
- access and understanding energy data
- learn about energy retail offers and contracts
- get government assistance through business grants, training and support
- access discount energy saving products from the Victorian Energy Upgrades program e.g. upgrades to lighting, refrigeration fans, hot water and custom upgrades
- explore renewable energy options with Saving with Solar.