Conclusions

Although electricity is not a major part of milk production costs, there are multiple technologies that can reduce utility bills significantly and give a very favorable return on investment for most dairy farms. A variable speed vacuum pump can reduce energy use by 50 to 60 percent, a well-water cooled precooler can reduce cooling requirements by two-thirds, a refrigeration heat recovery unit can typically reduce water heating costs by 50 percent and lighting energy consumption can often be reduced by 50 to 75 percent. Some energy conserving techniques preclude that energy being available for other downstream energy recapture. Enlist the aid of an energy auditor to help decide the best combinations of technologies for you. Farms with under 100 cows may have fewer options than larger farms, but all can reduce energy usage.