THE DE CICCO family will implement a number of operational changes on their Undera dairy farm to become more energy efficient.
The family received a Victorian Government Agriculture Energy Investment Plan grant, which allows farmers to invest in new equipment to reduce their energy costs.
The De Ciccos will implement a heat-recovery system in conjunction with a glycol chiller, on their Benevento Park dairy farm
The glycol chiller exchanges the heat from the milk-cooling process into the hot water system to ultimately save costs.
Fred De Cicco said up to 70 per cent of their energy bill came from cooling milk and heating water.
“With refrigeration there’s a possibility of losing gas that cools the system down, which isn’t good for the environment and it’s expensive, so the glycol system eliminates gas and is a lot more sustainable,” he said.
“It’s good for local businesses — the glycol system is manufactured in Kyabram, the vacuum pump will be coming from GV Dairy in Shepparton and electrical work will come from a local electrician.
“It’s important for government to invest in agriculture because of all the spin-off effects, it helps all our local businesses.”
Mr De Cicco said their electricity bill had doubled in the past five years, and his son Daniel applied for the grant after receiving an email from Tatura Milk.
Mr De Cicco said in the current climate, farmers were unable to afford energy upgrades.
“At the moment the most important spend is feed for your cows; when you’re focusing on survival, you’re not looking at sustainability or growth.”