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Western Dairy actively supports dairy farmers in their bid to reduce the energy costs associated with milking.

How to save energy on WA dairy farms

The rising cost of energy has a significant impact on farm budgets.

Western Dairy's Dan Parnell and Sam Taylor completed 100 + energy audits on WA dairy farms to bring you these tips and strategies to reduce energy expenditure and save money.

Where is energy used?

Energy use on Western Australian dairy farms

Electricity at the Dairy

  • Take advantage of off peak power to heat water, mill and mix grain and transfer feed and pump effluent.
  • Finish milking before 8am during the week.
  • Check that off peak timers are set correctly.
  • If you spend more than $10,000 per year on electricity, consider negotiating a contract with Synergy.
  • Consider changing your electricity provider or call to get an improved rate. Call annually.

Water heating

  • Minimise the volume of water used to wash the plant and vat. Wash at the lowest temperature possible without compromising hygiene.
  • Use a thermometer to monitor hot water inputs and outputs.
  • Install a water heater with capacity for all daily wash requirements so that all heating can occur on the off peak tariff.
  • If a time of use tariff is in place, install a timer to ensure water is only heated during the overnight off peak period.
  • Install a hot water pre heating device such as a heat recovery unit or solar hot water heater so that most of the heating can occur without using extra electricity.
  • Insulate pipes to reduce heat loss.
  • Keep storage tank out of breezeways and drafts.
  • Use the best quality water available – high levels of minerals or organic matter reduces heating performance.

Washing Regimes

Check the temperature of the wash water in the drum as the wash cycle commences (it should not exceed 85 degrees).

  • During recirculation the drum should be around 20% full as the wash water returns. If it is more then smaller wash quantities should be considered.
  • Investigate detergents that work effectively at lower temperatures.
  • Use a chemical sanitiser in the final wash cycle to reduce hot water demand.
  • Capture the final rinse for use next time
  • Real opportunities exist for dairy farmers to better control their energy costs while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Download this Special Report here.

Energy Usage on Dairy Farms - Local Case Studies

Assessing Your Electricity Bill (PDF, 195 KB)

Interval Power Recording (PDF, 596 KB)




DataGene is an independent and industry-owned organisation responsible for driving genetic gain and herd improvement in the Australian dairy industry and is an initiative of Dairy Australia and industry.

Making herd diets simple: Rumen8

Rumen8 is a free application to help increase dairy cow milk production and reduce feed costs. Rumen8 is easy to use and is supported by the Western Dairy team, register today.

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