Teagasc recently launched a new publication called ‘Energy Use in Agriculture’ at the National Ploughing Championships, in Athy, Co. Kildare. The publication will help Irish farmers reduce farming energy costs.
‘Energy Use in Agriculture’ focuses on the amount of energy used in the main farming enterprises (dairy, pigs, poultry, tillage, grassland and horticulture) and the opportunities to be more energy efficient. The publication also contains a section on renewable sources of energy in agriculture which will help identify what renewables make sense and the expected payback from solar, hydroelectricity, PV, anaerobic digestion, small scale wind and biomass based on present policy measures within the renewable sector.
Teagasc bioenergy specialist, Barry Caslin said; ”Saving energy makes good business sense as well as being important for the environment. Energy is not a fixed overhead cost and simple measures can reduce energy consumption and make the farm business more competitive. Re-setting energy controls, improving insulation in buildings and investing in more efficient buildings and vehicles could mean additional savings.”
Noel Culleton, Head of the Crops, Environment and Land Use programme in Teagasc said; ”We are seeking to promote sustainability and develop green initiatives as part of the Food Harvest 2020. By ‘thinking green’ Irish agriculture can respond to market demands with a more sustainable and cost competitive approach.”
Producers interested in improving the energy efficiency of a single system, such as heating and cooling, or lighting can receive technical assistance and guidance for their projects through SEAI staff. Teagasc researchers in the various enterprises see energy efficiency as a key approach to sustainable agriculture, followed closely by the adoption of renewables where appropriate, and where they make economic sense.