A CLEARER picture of dairy farm energy use could not only save farmers money, but may even build a case for Government compensation.
Milk processor Fonterra hopes to measure the energy use on some of its suppliers' farms in the next few months as a way to generate accurate data about the impact of the carbon price.
Fonterra sustainability strategy manager Jack Holden said data now used in the processor's recently released booklet,
"What does the carbon price mean for you?" - a basic outline of the carbon price, how it impacts on farm businesses and some tips for saving energy - came from a variety of sources, including case studies in New Zealand and Australia.
But he said specific measurements of energy use on a range of different dairy farms in Australia would further strengthen the industry's case for compensation as part of the carbon price rollout and it would also help farmers understand "useful and practical changes ... that could make a difference to their profitability".
Fonterra hoped to start trials in December and provide some information to government early in the new year. Mr Holden said Fonterra had been talking to government about the carbon price on its own, but also as part of the industry advocacy bodies.
Fonterra's carbon price booklet was released last week and came as a result of farmer feedback, Fonterra sustainability general manager Francois Joubert said.
The booklet estimated electricity on the average dairy farm would cost $2796.80 a year more with a carbon price and additional fertiliser and chemical costs were expected on top of that.
Ways to save electricity costs have been outlined in the information and come under a number of categories, including milk cooling, water heating, lighting, energy sourcing and vacuum pumps.
Some tips for milk cooling include insulating the vat, pipes and spaces underneath the vat, pre-cool milk as much as possible before placing into the milk vat and, it told farmers to consider if the source of the pre-cooler water was cold enough.
Suggestions about saving energy with vacuum pumps included considering installing a variable speed drive linked to the motor's vacuum requirements and to check belts and pulleys were correctly tensioned.