Some €500,000 is to be made available to dairy farmers for the installation of high-efficiency milk pumps. The grant will cover up to 40% of the total technology and installation costs.
Announcing the funding, Minister for Communication, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said the pumps could save the average farmer €1,440 in energy bills. There is also the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 1.6 tonnes annually.
The scheme will be administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The technologies covered under the scheme include variable speed drive (VSD) vacuum pumps and VSD milk pumps.
According to Jim Gannon, SEAI CEO, VSD vacuum pumps can reduce energy consumption by 60% resulting in savings of over 10% on total farm energy costs.
Minister Bruton said: “It is vital that every sector of our economy seek ways to reduce their carbon impact. This is a great opportunity for dairy farmers to become more efficient and save money. It is one of the many practices in a farm where new ways of working can make a significant impact.”
Pat Walton, dairy farmer from Ballingarry Co Tipperary, has installed a new vacuum pump and said the new system was quieter and cheaper to run.
He said: “It is an investment at the start, but over four or five years it will have paid for itself and after that it is saving you a lot of money. It is worth doing for the savings.”
He encouraged other dairy farmers to think about installing a new vacuum pump.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed also encouraged farmers to avail of the scheme: “Not only does this dairy equipment make climate sense but also sound economic sense at individual farm level and I urge farmers to engage fully with the scheme.”
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