Beat electricity price rises

CUTTING COSTS: Irrigated cane along Windermere Rd, Bundaberg. The high price of electricity has prompted many growers to opt for diesel-powered irrigation.
CUTTING COSTS: Irrigated cane along Windermere Rd, Bundaberg. The high price of electricity has prompted many growers to opt for diesel-powered irrigation. Mike Knott

THE constantly rising cost of electricity is an ever-greater concern for the farming community across Australia and the suppliers give no assurances prices will stabilise or ease.

Therefore growers have to be even more watchful of their input costs, especially focused on effective irrigation solutions.

A recent study by Bundaberg Sugar Services showed that power represented up to 87% of the cost of electric irrigation pumping systems.

Adding to the problem, some growers in eastern Australia have suffered a 90% increase in irrigator tariffs for electricity over the past seven years; and they fear ongoing rate rises being announced by their suppliers.

In a bid to contain future rising costs, there is an increasing trend among growers and contractors to switch to diesel-powered irrigation systems.

This provides many operational and offset benefits, particularly for those using sprays or sprinklers.

"Operating costs are always very important to us. However, another major benefit is that we can move diesel irrigation engines anywhere they are needed," said Bob Johnson - a veteran of the industry and a founder of TEAM Irrigation.

This eliminates the need to run power lines to multiple sites across a property.

Unless an electric engine is being used close to a three-phase power line, installation can be very expensive - sometimes more costly than the engine itself - and the cost is repeated at every new location.

New Holland product manager Richard Palma said the high cost of electricity was a case for considering diesel-powered options.

"On the other hand, diesel power for irrigation is highly portable and so is available at any place you can drive a ute - even in the middle of a field," Mr Palma said.

"Just take the engine there in the ute, drop it off, hook it up and start to use it.

"If the diesel engine is needed somewhere else, just pick it up and repeat the process.

"Unlike electricity, there is no need to lodge time-consuming applications with the local authorities or hire qualified electricians to install safety switches and equipment - and there's no worries about blackouts or power lines coming down in a storm.

"It really is a very effective solution to many problems."

Today, there is a wide range of rugged, transportable diesel irrigation engines available from New Holland and a range of models suitable for virtually all needs, situations and environmental conditions.

New Holland engines have the additional advantage that they are delivered to users as a complete package - so that they are ready to use almost immediately after delivery.

"Importantly, diesel irrigation engines are absolutely reliable and worry-free and that alone is worth having them," Mr Palma said.

He said buyers of new irrigation engines from their local New Holland equipment dealers before September 30 this year could qualify for a bonus of a 200-litre Dieselmaster Ute Pack worth $1068.


 New Holland Agriculture is a global manufacturer and seller of agricultural equipment.

Its reputation is built on the success of its customers, cash crop producers, livestock farmers, contractors, vineyards, or groundscare professionals, who can count on the widest offering of innovative products and services: a full line of equipment, from tractors to harvesting, material handling equipment, complemented by tailored financial services from a specialist in agriculture.

For more details go to .com.