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Dairy Cow on pasture

vacuum on-demand systems at dairy express

 

Saving Energy on Kentucky Dairy Farms
MACED's E3 team has completed energy audits for several dairy farms that were applying for state grants. These same farms have been awarded $55,000 to make energy saving improvements.

 

blue pump

Adair County, Kentucky is nestled in South Central Kentucky’s gently rolling farmland. Dairies from 30 to 300 (or more) cows have provided families with a way of life there for over three generations. As electricity prices have risen in recent years, dairymen and women have taken notice and started to address the biggest energy users on their farms, including motors, pumps, water heaters and refrigeration systems.

 

In 2011, entrepreneur Josh Kemp, who owns Dairy Express Services, LLC, contacted MACED about financing and assessing energy saving options for his clients’ dairy equipment. “We value our customers’ work ethic and time they dedicate on the farm. As such, we strive to offer products and services that add value and increase productivity for the dairy,” shared Josh. MACED’s expertise in assessing energy saving options and ability to offer capital, fell in line with Josh’s business philosophy. What began as a phone conversation with MACED progressed to MACED attendance at a Dairy Express Services open house and later site visits by MACED’s Energy Efficient Enterprises team. Ultimately, six dairies were awarded a total of $16,000 in grant money from the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy to complete energy saving improvements.

 

“Securing the grant money would not have been possible without MACED,” stated Josh Kemp. “They drove out to the farms and visited with the farmers, talking one on one with them and getting the job done.”

 

According to the Dairy Farm Energy Management Guide, a vacuum pump can comprise 26 percent of all electrical energy used on a dairy farm. This pump is the primary electrical energy user for milk harvesting, and milk harvesting equipment is often ‘on’ more hours of the day than any other piece of equipment. By installing a vacuum on demand system, which relies on a variable speed driven pump, dairies can use 60% less energy during milk harvesting. In turn, this savings can impact the total electric bill of the dairy by ten to thirteen percent. This savings is achievable with no loss of milking performance.

 

Based on each dairy’s herd size and electricity use, MACED Energy Specialist Joshua Bills calculated that each dairy will save between $1,400 and $2,200, as a result of installing the vacuum on demand system. The money saved can then be invested in additional energy and cost saving equipment such as instant water heaters, energy efficient lighting or better production management equipment such as automatic takeoffs and milking production meters.