Press-Republican

Columns

May 26, 2013

Energy savings on the farm

As the weather heats up and we all prepare for hotter conditions, our thoughts turn to keeping cool during our all-too-short summer season.

Keeping cool during hot summer nights is much easier when proper insulation is installed, cracks are sealed and fans or air conditioners are properly maintained. Many of these same ideas can be utilized on a farm to enhance energy efficiency and lower expenses related to energy use. At the same time, reducing energy usage will also reduce power-generation emissions and help protect our environment.

At a recent meeting that I attended, a major topic of discussion was farm energy management and conservation. Direct uses of energy on the farm would be the electricity used for cooling, fans, feed conveyers and lighting, as well as fuel used for tillage, planting and harvesting. Indirect energy used would be energy consumed during the manufacturing of fertilizer, pesticides and machinery used on the farm. Making energy-conservation choices on the farm is often very similar to those made for the home, except that while heating is the biggest user of energy in the home, most barns are unheated. With animal comfort a major priority, cooling fans are one of the most constant energy users in the summer.

On a dairy farm, the biggest users are the electric motors used to drive everything from fans to milk vacuum pumps. Milk cooling and ventilation make up about 50 percent of a dairy farm’s electrical usage and often offer opportunities for significant energy savings. Since heating and cooling are generally the biggest energy consumers, using the heat from the milk to preheat the hot water as well as the heat generated by the milk coolers, water heating efficiency and cost savings can be significant. The most common energy-conservation measures for dairy farms would include milk pre-coolers, refrigeration heat recovery, variable speed vacuum pumps and more efficient lighting.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • ken_wibecan.jpg Another day in the life

    Each morning I rise from bed, slowly, as is my habit, and sit quietly on the bed contemplating the day that looms before me, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR small talk mug 081714 Corner store is no more

    Columnist Gordie Little offers a reminder of the little grocery stores of days gone by.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR skin deep mug 081714 High-end products worth the splurge

    Regardless of the price, writes columnist Felicia Krieg, she would buy the core group of her makeup products over and over again.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Tax code needs overhaul

    Corporations may be criticized for exploiting loopholes, but it is the complex tax system that is at fault, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Ideas about soil health changing

    New techniques like no-til and cover crops can make soil healthier than conventional tillage, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Economy may have changed forever

    The Great Recession has reordered the workforce in a way that makes it unlikely it will ever be the same, according to columnist Colin Read.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg The dark side of fun funerals

    Something strange happened in American culture in the past decade or two: People started planning fun funerals, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR fit bits mug Developing power key to success

    While strength is important, the ability to generate power is required for many basic activities in life, writes columnist Ted Santaniello.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR you had to ask mug 081014 Time to reel in youth sports parents

    Do not scream at a child that he's a loser, at least not in a language he understands, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Treating corporations like people

    Problems arise in many areas when businesses take on the attributes of individuals as mandated by the court, according to columnist Colin Read.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice
Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk
Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time