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Developing energy use and savings indices for Michigan dairy operations

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800855.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800855)
Authors:   Benjamin J VanZweden, Aluel S Go, Truman Surbrook
Keywords:   Dairy farms, energy conservation, energy conservation measures (ECMs), energy efficiency, energy use intensity (EUI), Michigan, Michigan Farm Energy Program (MFEP), Michigan State University, milk production

Abstract. Michigan dairy farmers have little information available that shows how their operations‘ energy use and milk production compares to other operations of a similar size. The limited data available from other states only shows electricity (not total energy) use per cow or per hundredweight (cwt) of milk produced, and is not separated into different herd size categories. The goal of this study is to fill this information gap by compiling and analyzing certified energy audits of Michigan dairy operations. The Michigan Farm Energy Program has been conducting certified energy audits on Michigan dairy operations and documenting each farms‘ energy use, herd size, and production numbers as well as proposed energy conservation measures with their potential energy savings. This information was used to create energy use intensity (EUI) and energy savings indices for Michigan dairy farms. The EUI indices are broken down into four different herd size categories, and show four different metrics: total energy consumed per cwt and per cow, and total electricity consumed per cwt and per cow. Total energy consumption per cwt and per cow decreased as herd size increased, while total electricity consumption per cwt and per cow at first decreased but for the largest category of farms increased to levels near those of small dairy farms. The energy savings indices showed that electricity use only comprises 30% of Michigan dairy farm energy consumption. However, 82% of the energy conserved on audited farms was electricity and 81% of the total energy conserved came from improving three areas: manure handling, milking system, and lighting.

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