Energy Savers
Atherton Tablelands

Mareeba Banana Farm

Energy Savings
Drip, Micro irrigation
Variable Speed Control, Tariffs
Capital Cost

Farm Profile

The farm is split into eleven irrigation blocks with each requiring between 12 and 18 hours of irrigation per week, depending on rainfall. The property is undulating so the size and height of the irrigation blocks are different. 

One pump was assessed as part of an energy audit. The pump irrigates one block at a time operating for around 5,000 hours per year using over 320,000 kWh per year at an annual cost of around $89,000. 

An audit of site energy consumption evaluated:  

  • Variable speed control 
  • Remove primary sustain valve and replace with Dynamic Head Control 
  • Change from Tariff 44 to Tariff 66 

The recommendation from the energy audit is to install a variable speed drive on the pump to automatically modulate pressure at 250 kPa at the irrigation valve stations. This would allow removal of the primary sustain valve and improve efficiency.  

The audit report also included a recommendation to change the tariff for this pump account to realise potential savings of $21,266 per annum. 

Solution  Add Variable Speed Control  Dynamic Head Control  Tariff Change  TOTAL 
Energy Savings (kWh)  9,084 – 13,850    103,000 
Demand Savings (kW)  11.3 – 14.4 kW     
Cost Savings ($) 14,400  4,300  21,300  40,000 
Capital Cost ($)  20,000  15,000   – 35,000 
Payback (years)  1.9    1.9 


The Pumping Efficiency Rate improvement is estimated to have improved from 354 kWh/ML to 236 kWh/ML. Carbon savings of 94.8 t CO2-e per annum have been estimated.

A number of other benefits were reported by the farmer: 

  • Lower maintenance costs and longer pump life because the pump is not running as hard
  • A previous 2ML variation in water between blocks is now expected to be eliminated
  • “Each Plant, no matter which block they’re in, are getting a nice consistent watering

An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great way for a business to cut costs and boost productivity. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE and subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE. 

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at energysavers@qff.org.au. 


The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.


Farmer feedback
Based in the results from the Energy Savers audit, we are looking at rolling out similar efficiency trials and audits throughout the rest of the farms