Kilkenny event puts spend on energy in the spotlight

Caitriona Murphy

Farmers could be burning up to €2,000 in costly tractor diesel unnecessarily every year, Teagasc's Dermot Forristal has warned.

Choosing tractors with low fuel efficiency can drastically affect the amount of expensive tractor fuel required on the farm, he advised.

"There are significant differences in fuel efficiency between makes and models of tractors on the market," explained the machinery expert.

Mr Forristal was speaking ahead of the inaugural Teagasc National Agricultural Energy Efficiency Conference, which will take place this Thursday, December 6, at the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny.

"Depending on the size of the tractor, there can be fuel consumption differences of up to 18pc.

"If you take an 80kw or 110-horsepower tractor doing heavy work for 1,000 hours in the year, a difference of 18pc in fuel efficiency will cost the farmer €1,500-2,000 per year," he explained.

Mr Forristal added that simple changes to field operations on tillage farms could also see farmers make significant savings on energy and machinery costs.

"Plough depths have increased over the past 20 year for no real reason," he said.

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"Reducing the plough depth from 10 inches to seven inches could save a farmer up to €37/ha, or 30pc of what a contractor would charge for the job."

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Shane McEntee is to open proceedings in Kilkenny, on a day packed full of energy-saving advice for farmers.

Topics that will be addressed include carbon footprinting for Irish food, energy efficiency on dairy, pig, poultry and horticulture farms, and on-farm renewable energy options.

The conference is jointly organised by Teagasc, SEAI, Farming Independent and Macra na Feirme.

To book your place, contact Pauline Staunton of Teagasc on 096 22335.

Entry costs €50 per person, including lunch.

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