Energy Savers
Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday

Mackay Sugar Cane

Energy Savings
Centre Pivot
Variable Speed Control
Capital Cost


The irrigation energy audit assessed the site pumping systems including creek pumping and transfer pumping, recommended adding variable speed drives to the 55kW pumps driving the Centre Pivots, and reducing head pressure. Energy Savings of 19 – 30% were identified depending on operating conditions, with payback periods between 23.9– 8.4 years and average carbon emission reductions of 7.5 t CO2-e per year.

Farm profile

The 180 hectare farm, located in the Mackay area, cultivates sugar cane. For irrigation, the farm mainly relies on rainfall supplemented by a centre pivot and hard hose irrigation system which sources water from a creek. The operation of the irrigation system varies according to the season and the weather conditions. The volume of water delivered to the sugar cane changes according to the growth stage and is varied by managing the irrigation time as the system delivers a constant flow of water.

Electricity consumption is mainly for irrigation purposes, followed next by the shed/workshop.

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Farmer feedback
The farm is not proceeding with implementation of the audit recommendation due to long payback periods. The customer noted that the existing pumping arrangement had been sized appropriately and the audit report findings would be considered in the event of a pump failure requiring replacement.