Energy demand on dairy farms in Ireland

J.R. Upton, J. Humphreys, P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp, P. French, P. Dillon, I.J.M. de Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reducing electricity consumption in Irish milk production is a topical issue for 2 reasons. First, the introduction of a dynamic electricity pricing system, with peak and off-peak prices, will be a reality for 80% of electricity consumers by 2020. The proposed pricing schedule intends to discourage energy consumption during peak periods (i.e., when electricity demand on the national grid is high) and to incentivize energy consumption during off-peak periods. If farmers, for example, carry out their evening milking during the peak period, energy costs may increase, which would affect farm profitability. Second, electricity consumption is identified in contributing to about 25% of energy use along the life cycle of pasture-based milk. The objectives of this study, therefore, were to document electricity use per kilogram of milk sold and to identify strategies that reduce its overall use while maximizing its use in off-peak periods (currently from 0000 to 0900 h). We assessed, therefore, average daily and seasonal trends in electricity consumption on 22 Irish dairy farms, through detailed auditing of electricity-consuming processes. To determine the potential of identified strategies to save energy, we also assessed total energy use of Irish milk, which is the sum of the direct (i.e., energy use on farm) and indirect energy use (i.e., energy needed to produce farm inputs). On average, a total of 31.73 MJ was required to produce 1 kg of milk solids, of which 20% was direct and 80% was indirect energy use. Electricity accounted for 60% of the direct energy use, and mainly resulted from milk cooling (31%), water heating (23%), and milking (20%). Analysis of trends in electricity consumption revealed that 62% of daily electricity was used at peak periods. Electricity use on Irish dairy farms, therefore, is substantial and centered around milk harvesting. To improve the competitiveness of milk production in a dynamic electricity pricing environment, therefore, management changes and technologies are required that decouple energy use during milking processes from peak periods
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6489-6498
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume96
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • life-cycle assessment
  • milk-production
  • impact

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Energy demand on dairy farms in Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this