Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Simple dairy equipment changes could cut electricity use by up to e1,800

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Simple changes to dairy farm equipment could save farmers up to €1,800 per year in electricity charges, a Teagasc energy use survey has found.

A study of electricity consumption on 22 commercial dairy farms in Ireland, averaging 76ha in size and milking on average 118 cows, found a massive variation in the cost of electricity on the farms, with some farmers using as little electricity as 0.26c/l and others paying up to 0.89c/l.


Teagasc Moorepark researcher John Upton said farmers could save more than €500 per year just by changing their electricity supplier and urged farmers to use cost comparison websites like to find out what they could save.

Dairy farms are among the highest farm users of electricity, which has increased in price by 30pc between 2010 and 2012.

The average cost of electricity per litre of milk produced on the 22 farms surveyed in the Europe-wide Dairyman study was 0.51c/l or €2,875 per year.

Mr Upton said the Dairyman farms that were paying most for their electricity could save up to €800 per year simply by switching their electricity supplier.

Switching to night rate electricity is another way for dairy farmers to save significant amounts on their bills.

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"The average farm using 40pc day rate for heating water would save €170 per year by heating the water on night rate only," he added.


Other options for reducing electricity costs on dairy farms include installing solar panels for water heating, adding variable speed drive (VSD) controls to the vacuum pump and improving plate cooling systems.

However, the savings on electricity costs by investing in new equipment would have to be balanced against the payback time for the capital cost of the equipment.

Solar panels, VSD units and plate coolers have a payback time of seven to 10 years, depending on the farm.

Irish Independent