There is a lot beef and sheep producers can do to cut fixed costs and greenhouse gas emissions for very little effort or expense.
How can I cut energy use on my livestock farm?
- Ensure all vehicle tyres are kept at the correct pressure to save diesel
- Shut off diesel engines when not in use rather than idling
- Plan travel so as to combine jobs and minimise vehicle movements wherever possible
- Install a fuel meter on the farm diesel tank to monitor fuel usage
- Use low energy or sodium lighting especially in flood lighting
- Keep all lighting covers and fittings clean and well maintained
- Install timer switches and daylight or occupancy sensors in key lighting circuits, and in non key circuits ensure that lights and other equipment is switched off when not in use
- Improve building airflow to maximise natural ventilation and minimise drafts
- Service equipment regularly
- Consider soft start technology for electric motors
- If feed is home milled, consider installing a disc mill rather than a roller mill as disc milling is more energy efficient.
Efficiency and its relationship with profitability
Recent EBLEX business pointers costings showed power and machinery repairs to be the largest area of fixed costs, alongside labour. Indeed it typically accounts for 20-25% of the fixed cost burden. Anything therefore that producers can do to save on fuel, gas, and electricity per unit or output is likely to make a particularly valuable contribution to improving profitability.
Energy Efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Low Carbon farming practises and techniques aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use on farm as well as improving resource efficiency. Employing low carbon farming techniques will lead to positive environmental benefits as well as making farms more efficient – leading to cost saving benefits.
The Moving towards Low Carbon farming project has held events across the south west looking at the issue of livestock production and GHG emissions. To read the presentation from EBLEX on the issue of becoming more efficient whilst reducing GHGs from beef and lamb, please click here.
Source: EBLEX Improve Energy Management to cut costs and carbon 2010