7 Apr 2010

Farm savings tipped under new energy pilot programme

6:40 am on 7 April 2010

Dairy farmers could wipe more than $1000 year off their power bills, through a new pilot programme that aims to improve on-farm energy use.

The Dairy Energy Action Programme is a joint initiative between Fonterra, the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture.

It will give150 farmers an energy audit and help to put inprovements in place that will save them at least 10 percent in power costs.

EECA business programme manager Murray Bell says dairying is an energy-intensive business with the average farmer spending $14,000 per year on electricity.

The agency hopes the programme will enable individual farmers to save about 10% on energy - using simple solutions when operating their milking shed and using heat pumps and that sort of thing.

Mr Bell says dairy farms account for nearly 2.5% of New Zealand's electricity use and 10% of savings would be worth about $16 million per year to the industry.

He says results from the pilot farms should be back by June 2011, with a view to roll the programme out across the country soon after.