A major and often-overlooked overhead production cost on the farm is utilities. With simple upgrades, it’s possible to dramatically reduce your energy usage and bills. Chad Kloberdanz, of Kloberdanz Consulting, and Leon Schumacher, University of Missouri agricultural systems management professor, provide simple and effective tips.
- Every month, clean fan blades and maintain belt tension on fans. This can increase existing fan efficiency by 10% or more.
- Air leaks are a major cause of heat loss. Use caulk and weatherstripping on all door openings and windows, which can reduce heat loss up to 37%.
- Install programmable controls and automated systems to monitor grain moisture in your bins to avoid overdrying grain.
- Block off unused rooms or areas in cold weather to reduce your total heated footprint.
- Tick down the heat whenever possible. Dropping the temperatures from 70°F to 65°F can save up to 21% on a heating bill.
- Use motion activated lights or install timers to reduce overall usage.
- Hold off on replacing low-use and small motors, such as drills, grinders and welders. Typically, a motor needs to run 2,000 hours annually to justify a replacement.
- Avoid doing high-energy tasks, such as drying grain or grinding feed, during peak energy demand. Ask your utility provider for insights.
- Keep an eye on what’s plugged in. Do you really need six batteries charging at once?
- Buy fuel in the off-season when supplies are more abundant and prices are typically lower.
How big is the payback of upgrading your farms’ lighting, insulation and dryers? Take a tour through a hypothetical farm with energy conservation recommendations at bit.ly/conserve-energy