New Publication Helps Dairy Farmers Conserve Energy

AMES, Iowa – Managing and maintaining dairy equipment to improve energy efficiency is challenging, especially cooling milk throughout the hot summer months. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach explains three key factors for reducing energy consumption on Midwestern dairies.

Energy Efficiency for Dairy Milking Equipment” (PM 2089X) is available to download from the Extension Online Store,

“A dairy can reduce its energy costs by maintaining milking and cooling equipment for optimal performance,” said Dan Huyser, ISU Extension agricultural engineer. “When replacing worn equipment, consider options such as milk precoolers, refrigeration heat recovery, scroll compressors or variable frequency drives on vacuum pumps.”

The publication addresses energy consumption for Midwestern dairies, particularly equipment needed for milking and milk storage. Dairy farms typically need more energy for day-to-day operations than other farmsteads, especially electricity for milking the herd and for cooling and storing the milk. Milk precoolers, scroll compressors and variable frequency drives can improve on-farm energy efficiency during daily operations.

“Modifications to equipment and plans for dairy expansion are not taken lightly, especially in today’s market” said Dana Petersen, program coordinator for ISU Farm Energy. “Producers should carefully consider the most energy efficient equipment to meet the existing — and future — needs of the dairy.”

For more tips on energy efficiency around the farmstead, visit or follow @ISU_Farm_Energy on Twitter.

The Farm Energy publications are part of a series of farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials being developed through the ISU Farm Energy Initiative. The purpose is to increase farmers’ awareness of opportunities for improving efficient use of farm energy. The initiative also will help farmers and utility providers to explore opportunities to reduce farm energy demand and to improve overall profitability in a rapidly changing energy environment.