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Energy consumption on five Midwest dairy farms.

K. Sharpe




Energy consumption on five Midwest dairy farms.
K. Sharpe*, B. Heins, E. Buchanan, M. Reese. West Central Research and Outreach Center Morris, MN.

The objective of this study was to measure electricity use from specific components on 5 Midwest dairy farms. Data were collected from farms located in west central Minnesota: a 9,500 head, cross-ventilated barn with a rotary parlor (A), a 300 head, naturally-ventilated barn and an automatic milking system (B), a 200 head, naturally-ventilated barn and a parabone parlor (C), a 400 head, naturally-ventilated barn and a parallel parlor (D), and a 275 head, pasture-based farm with a parabone parlor (E). Electricity was monitored from July 2018 to December 2019. Multiple electric loads were monitored on the farm side of the electric utility meter at the circuits. Electrical use was evaluated on an electrical load basis (Table 1). Despite barn design and cow numbers on farm, ventilation was the largest user of electricity across farms A, B, and C. Ventilation use ranged from 12% to 36% of total electricity used across all farms. Electricity for lighting ranged from 4 to 19% of total electricity usage. Manure handling ranged from 0.02 to 24% of total electricity usage. Milk cooling (compressors and chillers) ranged from 5 to 34% of total electricity usage. Approximately 14% of the electricity usage on Farm B was for operation of the automatic milking system. The annual mean kWh of electricity per cow was: 965 kWh/cow on Farm A, 1,145 kWh/cow on Farm B, 574 kWh/cow on Farm C, 775 kWh/cow on Farm D, and 400 kWh/cow on Farm E. Mean electricity to produce one kg of milk ranged from 0.04 kWh/kg on Farm C to 0.11 kWh/kg on Farm A. Monthly mean electricity per kg/fat plus protein ranged from 0.64 kWh/kg on Farm C to 1.25 kWh/kg on Farm B.Table 1. Percent of total electricity used by various loads on each farm

Mean kWh per month679,47630,8638,72527,3467,527
Electricity use, % of total kWh1
Ventilation, %
Lights, %
Manure handling, %
Milk cooling, %
Automatic milking system, %NA14.0NANANA
1Includes the highest consuming electrical loads on each farm.

Keywords: dairy, electricity.