Future Ready Dairy Systems

Dairy Australia


Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms

Project Summary

In 2012, Dairy Australia received $1 million in funding from the Department of Industry and Science to deliver the project ‘Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms’, aimed at helping dairy farmers use energy more efficiently. The project gave 900 Australian dairy farmers access to personalised on-farm energy assessments, workshops and information resources. Due to the significant success of this project, Dairy Australia received an additional $721,000 to extend project delivery to a further 500 farmers until June 2015.

As of June 2015, 21% (1,399) of Australia dairy farmers have completed an energy assessment through this project.

Many of the farmers across Australia who have had energy efficiency assessments at the dairy are already reaping the benefits of having identified areas for improvement, and are investing in changes. The assessments have found that while no two dairies are the same, milk cooling, milk harvesting and hot water production are the areas of highest energy use. The assessment recommendations could range from small changes to existing equipment that can be implemented immediately, to advice on new technology and long term investment options.

Funding for this program closed on 30 June 2015. However, the case studies and fact sheets developed through this program will remain available to the industry via this website.

Key Messages

  • 1,399 on-farm assessments conducted since 2012, covering all aspects of energy use in the dairy such as milk cooling, water heating, pumps, cleaning and equipment.
  • An analysis of the energy assessment data reveals that more than half (55%) of the assessments identified on-farm savings of up to $2,000 per year. 40% of properties have the potential to save between $2,000–$10,000 annually.  More substantial savings (of up to $29,000 annually) were identified for approximately 5% of assessments.
  • Online ‘Saving energy on dairy farms’ national resources booklet available with information on saving energy, renewable energy resources, energy saving checklists and fact sheets.

Quotes and Feedback

“The efficiency plan gives us a base to work from, we can look back later on and say that’s what we were using 5 years ago, now why has it gone up.”

“Plan to put in a new dairy in the future and will change cooling towers as recommended in the efficiency plan.”

“It made us aware of how much power we use, where our costs are going and how we can be more efficient. It showed that it was taking it longer to cool down the milk than it should have been and that was a big cost.”

This Activity received funding from the Department of Industry and Science as part of the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.


2012 - 2015

Event Type:

Energy Assessment Project




Cathy Phelps, Natural Resource Management Program Manager, Dairy Australia

Fact Sheets

Case Studies


Other Resources