Grant helps farmer cut annual energy costs

By Jamie Salter

A Kaarimba dairy farmer plans to reduce his energy costs by upgrading farm equipment with the help of Victorian Government grant.

Graeme Sprunt will receive $29,600 towards the installation of a milk chiller to reduce his electricity consumption.

“It will cut costs because the chiller will be running overnight on off peak time, and during the day, off our 15 kilowatt solar installation on the dairy roof,” Mr Sprunt said.

“The milk will be going into the vat at about five degrees and the milk vat will virtually become obsolete.”

The chiller will provide annual energy savings of $7,500 — which is 19 per cent of on-farm energy costs.

Since 1874, the Kaarimba farm has been passed on through generations and cows have been milked there since 1969.

Mr Sprunt runs the 250ha farm in partnership with his brother and supplies Shepparton's Freedom Foods — producing 2.8 million litres annually.

He said the grant would enable them to produce a better-quality product.

“The government pays half and we have to pay the other half, it's about a $62,000 investment,” he said.

“It’s been a bit time consuming and has taken over two years to be given the go ahead to install it, but you get a lot of good ideas on where to save energy costs, such as more solar power, LED lights and variable speed motors.”

Mr Sprunt said he hoped to have the chiller installed by mid September.

“It will be nice to have it ready to go before summer,” he said.

The grant is part of the Victorian Government's Agriculture Energy Investment Plan.