Energy Savers
Dry Tropics

Burdekin Sugar Cane

Energy Savings
Flood, Drip, Micro irrigation
Centrifugal, Submersible, Turbine
Variable Speed Control
Capital Cost


A range of initiatives were identified including replacing some pumps and motors with variable speed drives, which the farmer has implemented in the drip & micro irrigation pump, with a payback period of 1.3 years and annual cost savings of around $6,000. Implementing these upgrades in the flood irrigation pump could save 8,000 kWh extra per year. Additionally, $10,000 annual savings is potentially available at the site by reviewing the tariffs of the pump stations. Energy savings have been calculated as 16% and emission reductions as 29.4 t CO2-e per year.

Additional benefits have been realized by the farmer in terms of better understanding of energy tariffs, allowing for better resource management opportunities.


Farm profile

The farm is situated adjacent to the Burdekin River and receives average annual rainfall of approximately 940mm. The farm cultivates sugar cane, irrigated mainly by low pressure flooded furrow irrigation. For improved irrigation efficiency and reduced water-logged soils at flood outlets, the farm owner has been trialling trickle irrigation technologies, with success, and closely monitoring the results. A barrier to the wider application of trickle irrigation has been the cost of energy per hectare to implement.

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Farmer feedback
The range in savings has allowed the farmer to prioritise the recommendations based on the best payback period together with the associated capital outlay required. The farmer is keen to implement the recommended irrigation energy saving solutions, subject to start of the wet season providing relief from irrigation commitments. At time of writing, rainfall had not been sufficient to allow a shutdown of pumps to complete upgrade works.