VEGETABLE growers are investing in new energy-effiecient technologies to combat the weight of rising production costs.
An energy audit report on the industry by Infotech Research gathered information from a series of 22 audits conducted on vegetable growing farms, and suggested the best returns on investment were achieved through prevention of energy losses followed by energy efficiency improvements.
According to the report, many growers audited were investing in new technologies and equipment, such as PV panel systems for solar energy production and LED lighting, to increase efficiency and decrease waste.
"Energy costs have practically doubled over the last decade, prompting the industry to take a closer look at the way facilities use energy, and to then use the report to identify inefficiencies and reduce costs," said AUSVEG spokesperson Tamara Ungar.
"A unifying factor regardless of commodities being produced was that growers are very conscious of the rising cost of energy and the impact that this has on the bottom line of their business.
"It is clear that many growers have embraced, or are looking to adopt, measures to improve energy practices at their operations, with the report stating that a reduction in processed waste is a major opportunity for some growers to pursue."
Key areas for potential reductions in energy demands for the vegetable industry include:
- Diesel plant efficiency
- Refrigeration efficiency
- Cool room energy loss reduction
- Irrigation pump efficiency
- Irrigation system design
The project was funded by HIA using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government