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
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 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