Media Contact

Kathleen Curry

Public Affairs Director
T: 02 9478 1004
M: 0429 011 690
curryk@nswfarmers.org.au

Case Studies

     
 

Kensal Green

 
        
Kensal Green

Working with the NSW Farmers’ Energy Team, the Kensal Green farm in Gunnedah identified significant energy savings opportunities over the short, medium and longer term. Heading the list of opportunities was the use of variable speed drives (VSDs) on pumps, as well as proper ballasting of the farm’s new tractor.

 

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Valdimah Park

 
        
Valdimah Park

Poultry farmers run sophisticated sheds that automatically regulate temperature, air quality and light conditions. This can require a lot of power, especially during heat spells. Solar PV systems provide great value for chicken growers, as they maximise energy savings during hot and sunny days.


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Birrah

 
        
Birrah

“Up until NSW Farmers visited our farm for their energy innovation program we had been focussed on solar as a technology to reduce our energy bills. The subject of tyre set up and driving technique came up and we realised that our attention to these basics had been relaxed over the last 2 years or so and with a little effort and no cash upfront we could save almost $4,000 a year compared with about $500 a year from solar.”

 

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Windella

 
        
Windella

Some farms rely on seasonal workers to operate their tractors and harvesters to achieve considerable labour savings, but hidden costs can arise from inefficient operation. The farm’s plan involves introducing energy efficiency alongside existing safety inductions for new staff, to avoid cost blowouts by as much as 20-30% from additional fuel usage.

  

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Garah

 
        
Garah

"Because there is no local source of water on or adjacent to the property, Garah owner and manager Bill Yates became a member of a community trust that owns and operates a large bore pump in the local area. The trust consists of 43 members, all of whom draw water from the bore. Bill is now a director of the trust.The NSW Farmers Energy Innovation program has triggered a discussion among Bill and his neighbours about what they should do after the solar feed-in tariff ends in December 2016."

 

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Steam Plains

 
        
Steam Plains

Approximately 40% potential energy savings were discovered from on-site generation using a combination of solar and wind. But how will the business case stack up? Monitoring and understanding energy usage provides the key.

 

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Gum Creek

 
        
Gum Creek

Biomass is a fuel source that could replace diesel for farmers prepared to make the investment but the technology is not readily accessible. At Gum Creek the use of biomass is under investigation and with over $200,000 in pumping costs the incentive to innovate is strong for third generation farmer Ian Blight. Ian typifies the Ag Innovator dedicating time, machinery and effort into developing prototype equipment that will collect and compress biomass into a form that can be readily incinerated to produce gas. He has also modified a 280hp diesel to save over 10 percent in diesel costs. NSW Farmers is supporting this investigation.

  

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Glenorie Hydroponics

 
        
Glenorie Hydroponics

"Many farmers would like to integrate solar power into the running of their irrigation systems; however, variable seasonal loads often make solar PV non-viable The good news is that NSW Farmers’ Energy Innovation program has identified a solution that offsets grid power peak tariffs with on-site solar. In trialling this solution, Joe D’Anastasi of Glenorie Hydroponics has proven an ideal candidate, improving his farm’s bottom line at a time when he’s looking to expand."

  

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Jarret Wines

 
        
Jarret Wines

"NSW Farmers’ Energy Innovation Program has triggered a discussion with Justin and Pip Jarrett about what to do after the solar feed-in tariff ends in December 2016. Jarrett’s Wines has the potential to invest in battery storage or electrification of its farm vehicles to help build a sustainable brand image.Other initiatives include a review of energy-efficient design options for a new coolroom as part of their business expansion and integrated solar pumping option to reduce irrigation energy costs."

  

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Gundamain

 
        
Gundamain

"NSW Farmers’ Energy Innovation Program has triggered a discussion with the team at Gundamain Feedlot about the opportunity it identified for Gundamain to combine battery storage with solar PV to maximise the savings it makes from solar. “Our first reaction was ‘no way’, given the large upfront capital cost, but as we heard more from NSWF about the positive cash flow financing options available, we decided to see how the business case might play out,” say owner-managers Andrew and Tess Herbert. Other initiatives identified on site and discussed below include power-factor correction, and tractor set-up and operation."

  

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Reedy Creek Crays

 
        
Reedy Creek Crays

With several hundred tonnes of crays destined for high-end restaurants in Sydney, and to service shops throughout NSW and Victoria, achieving good water quality in ponds is essential to ensuring the highest-quality product. Energy savings can be made nevertheless, by minimising or limiting the run time of aerators to peak and shoulder supply periods. “We knew we had to focus on the quality of the water and feed for our yabbies but we didn’t factor into our business plans the doubling of our energy costs in the past five years. Yes, it’s certainly time to take action,” says David Flanagan, owner and manager of Reedy Creek Crays.

  

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Fruits of Byron

 
        
Fruits of Byron

"Fruits of Byron is an early-to-market fruit grower for the Brisbane and Melbourne markets that may also be an early adopter of energy storage technology. “I am weighing up tried and proven solar PV to charge an electric ute,” says Mark Napper, CEO of Fruits of Byron, a boutique grower of custard apples and peaches.Other initiatives Mark’s taking include reviewing pumping options to reduce his irrigation energy costs, and energy-efficient design options for a new coolroom as part of his business expansion plans."

  

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Blueberry Fields

 
        
Blueberry Fields

"Water, sunlight and clever farm practices will strip out 10% of the energy costs for this small farm just south of Byron Bay. Otto and Lynette Saeck have been improving their business continually over the past 10 years. Their next opportunity is to optimise water application and pumping schedules and exploit the sunshine available using solar PV-generated power to reduce their grid-delivered electricity use dramatically. Other initiatives they’re considering include installing high-efficiency motors (HEMs) and variable speed drives (VSDs)."

  

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Stratheden Glen Poultry

"With LPG around 20 to 30 percent more expensive than natural gas and the cost of LPG expected to increase over the next few years, gas-dependent poultry farmers are looking for alternatives to LPG so as to remain competitive in a growing sector. Along with exploring alternatives to costly LPG, the owners of Stratheden Glen poultry farm are implementing or considering initiatives including a lighting upgrade that will result in significant energy savings, voltage optimisation to improve the power delivered to site, and solar power for the main pump that supplies drinking water to the chickens and water for the evaporative coolers."

 

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NS & JA Drew

 
        
NS & JA Drew

"The Drews are investigating a solar PV system for their homestead and their piggery to deliver power for lighting, feed augers and heat lamps for the piglets. “We are keen to reduce our dependency on the grid and save on running costs so that we have a prosperous future,” says Nick Drew, a fourth-generation pig farmer.Other energy-saving initiatives Nick is implementing or considering include installing more efficient heat lamps in the nursery and switching the mill over from a PTO off the back of an old 30hp Massey Ferguson tractor, to 21 and 6hp electric motors for the hammer mill and the mixer. The current set-up incurs significant losses, with a five-metre belt drive and limited capacity to vary motor speed to suit the load."

  

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Glenwarrie Partnership

 
        
Glenwarrie Partnership

"The Glenwarrie Partnership near Tamworth recently invested in a state of the art caged egg laying system with packing machines and highly efficient automated feed and watering systems. However a significant cost savings opportunity was missed. T8 fluorescent lighting used in the sheds are around one third more expensive to run than new lighting technologies such as T5s or perhaps LEDS. “We selected dimmable T8 tubes for our lighting but our main focus was on the layer and sorting systems when we went ahead with the new shed two years ago,” says co-owner Bede Burke."

  

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Binowee Diary

 
        
Binowee Diary

"Price pressures in the dairy sector are forcing dairy farmers to look for ways of cutting costs to retain reasonable margins and remain viable. “We need to increase our herd and our yield to remain in business,” says Norman McCure, owner of Binowee Dairy in New South Wales. The challenge for the McCures is to achieve improvements in yield and volume at a lower cost per litre of milk. If this challenge is met, the business could not only survive but thrive, providing sufficient motivation for taking on the additional risk and hard work that the expansion will entail.An investigation into more efficient hot water and refrigeration systems and the possibility of generating biogas on site may lead to further options for optimising Norman’s investment and delivering an estimated 30% increase in production."

  

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Killeneen

 
        
Killeneen

Killeneen is a 2,700-acre cropping and cattle property north-west of Albury, New South Wales, with 60% of the land dedicated to cropping and 40% to stock. Crops grown here include winter cereals such as canola and summer irrigated crops including lucerne, corn and beans. The farm’s energy costs are dominated by that of diesel fuel for bulk water pumping. Killeneen owner-manager Derek Schoen is keen to electrify his irrigation system. He engaged with the farm energy innovation program to explore the options for and potential efficiency gains from doing so.

  

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Bulls Run

 
        
Bulls Run

“Energy costs keep rising which keeps eroding our margins,” says new Bulls Run Manager Scott Hughes. “We need to explore our power options and select the most reliable and cost-effective solution, especially for our irrigation system.” Scott has begun investigating the potential for swapping out his diesel pumps with electric to irrigate selected paddocks on his 7,497-hectare lamb and cropping operation near Wagga Wagga, NSW, to save energy as well as to use water more efficiently.

  

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Tahlee Farming Partnership

 
        
Tahlee Farming Partnership

Gunnedah farmer Joe Martin is keen to reduce his dependence on diesel by using solar to power irrigation pumps. The business case is not quite there for solar, but interim efficiency measures to monitor energy consumption and undertake pump maintenance have identified diesel fuel cost savings of 33 percent per ML

  

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