Agricultural Energy Efficiency Professional Development Webinar Series

These energy efficiency webinars cover six major agricultural enterprises in depth: Livestock and Poultry, Irrigation, Grain Drying, Greenhouses, Field Operations and Dairy Farms.

This professional development series is supported by funding from North Central SARE.    The project is coordinated by Scott Sanford, Sr. Outreach Specialist at University of Wisconsin.   Information is presented by a team of extension specialists in the North Central region.

  Find these webinars and many other Farm Energy media resources at the Farm Energy Media archive.

2011 Schedule for Energy Webinars – Archive recordings are linked below.

May 10    Energy Conservation for Livestock and Poultry Production – Kevin Janni, Larry Jacobson and Hongwei Xin
May 12    Greenhouse Energy Conservation – Scott Sanford
May 17    Managing Field Operations to Reduce Energy Costs – Mark Hanna
May 19    Milking System, Variable Frequency Drives, Single Phase Installation Issues and Waterers – Truman Surbrook
May 24    Irrigation Pumping Plants – William Kranz
May 26    Milk Cooling, Water Heating, and Heat Recovery Systems – Dan Schruaben
May 31    Greenhouse Thermal/Shade Curtains – Scott Sanford
June 7    Irrigation Scheduling – William Kranz
June 14  Biomass Heating of Greenhouses – Scott Sanford
June 16  Lighting, Electric Motors and Block Heaters – Jon Althouse and Aluel Go
June 21  Irrigation Pipeline Distribution Systems – William Kranz
June 23  Ventilation, Manure Handling, Diesel to electric motor conversions – Aluel Go
June 28  Grain drying – Ken Hellevang

Energy Conservation for Livestock and Poultry Production

Rising energy prices and concerns about energy availability are driving livestock and poultry producers and managers to review their energy use and implement energy conservation practices. For economical production livestock and poultry producers must balance feed energy, fossil fuel and electricity costs against product sales while providing for animal and employee well-being. This webinar will describe key ways to conserve energy while enhancing animal well-being and production. 

Speakers:  Kevin Janni and Larry Jacobson, who are both Professors and Extension engineers in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and Hongwei Xin, Professor in the Department of Agricultural Engineering and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University

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Managing Field Operations to Reduce Energy Costs

Reducing energy use in cropping operations involves good maintenance of equipment, reducing tillage operations, ballasting tractors properly, nitrogen management and reducing grain drying energy use. Webinar will make the case for using minimum tillage, timely routine tractor maintenance, crop rotations with legumes and shorter maturity corn to reduce drying costs.

Speaker: Mark Hanna is an Extension Agricultural Engineer at Iowa State University specializing in mechanized field operations.

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Irrigation Series

Delivery of irrigation water through on farm irrigation systems from ground or surface water sources typically requires the addition of energy. The amount of energy that must be added is controlled by the type of irrigation delivery system, elevation difference between the field and the water source, inches of water applied, and the land area being irrigated. In this three part series participants will become familiar with how to determine how much energy is required if all components of the system are operating at near peak efficiency.

Speaker: William Kranz Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Irrigation Specialist in the department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska Extension.

Irrigation Pumping Plants

Webinar discusses how to determine pumping plant performance based on field testing and estimating pumping efficiency using energy records from the producer. View Recording.

Irrigation Scheduling

Webinar will discuss how to reduce energy use through implementing irrigation scheduling tools and evaluating water application efficiency.  View recording.

Irrigation Pipeline Distribution Systems

Webinar will evaluate irrigation pipeline designs to assess the energy required and the long term economics of different pipeline sizes.  View Webinar.

Greenhouse Series

Growers can often reduce energy cost by 30 to 50% by using energy efficient growing practices, tightening the greenhouse enclosure to reduce infiltration losses, replacing inefficient heating systems and installing curtain systems. Often growers turn to wood as a way to reduce energy costs instead of implementing efficiency measures. But some of the wood boilers are very inefficient and may cost more to operate than if energy efficiency measures were implemented. The webinars will cover energy measures for greenhouse, thermal curtain systems and the use of biomass energy for heating greenhouses.

Speaker: Scott Sanford is a Sr. Outreach Specialist in the department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on energy issues in agriculture and renewable energy.

Greenhouse Energy Efficiency

Topics will include type of structure, glazing materials, types of heat loss, infiltration losses, heating systems, heat distribution, thermal curtains, space efficiency, summer ventilation, supplemental lighting and a brief look at passive solar greenhouse design.

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Thermal/Shade Curtains for Greenhouses

Topic covered include the advantages and uses of a curtain system, types of configurations, installation issues, basic components, types of curtain materials, installation, curtain opening devices, controls, curtain management, approximate energy savings and installed costs. We also look at an alternative technology that uses foam between poly films to reduce heat losses. There are several greenhouse energy estimation tools available for estimating the energy use and potential energy savings from different energy conserving technologies and management practices which will be reviewed.

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Alternative Fuels for Heating Greenhouses

This presentation will look at different potential fuel sources (biomass & used oils), types of furnaces and boilers including outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters, pellet or grain fired boilers/furnaces, stand alone stoves and a case study of two greenhouses. We’ll wrap up the presentation with information on energy grants to help pay cost share the capital costs of energy saving equipment or heating equipment to burn a renewable fuel.

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Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency

Dairy farm’s cost of energy for harvesting and cooling milk and environment control of housing is about 2% of total production costs. The portions of total costs maybe low but there are things that are very cost affective to reduce the electric bills that can add up to thousands of dollars per year in savings. The webinars will look at reducing energy use for milk cooling, water heating, vacuum pumps, ventilation, lighting and water fountains. Milking System, Variable Frequency Drives and Waterers

Milking System, Variable Frequency Drives, Single Phase Installation Issues and Waterers

Speaker: Truman Surbrook, Ph.D is a professor of Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University specializing in energy and electrical wiring and usage for agriculture.

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Milk Cooling, Water Heating, and Heat Recovery Systems

Speaker: Dan Schruaben P.E. is a professional engineer and a Certified Energy Auditor in Michigan for performing farm energy audits.

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Lighting, Electric Motors and Block Heaters

Speakers: Jon Althouse is an instructor of electrical technology at Michigan State University and a Master Electrician. He teaches on the topics of electrical wiring, robotics in agriculture, animal housing and ventilation.  Aluel Go is on Outreach specialist at Michigan State University working on agricultural energy topics and is the coordinator for Michigan’s Dairy Energy Auditor Training program.

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Ventilation, Manure Handling, Diesel to electric motor conversions

Speaker: Aluel Go is an Outreach specialist at Michigan State University working on agricultural energy topics and is the coordinator for Michigan’s Dairy Energy Auditor Training program.

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Improving Grain Drying Energy Efficiency

Using energy efficient grain drying methods in the North Central Region has the potential to annually save about 200 million gallons of LP gas and 100 million kWh of electricity with a value of about $308 million. This is based on a conservative energy efficiency improvement of just 15%, using an LP cost of $1.50 per gallon savings and an electric cost of $0.08 per kWh.

The webinar will cover the types of grain dryers, energy conservation features of grain dryers and drying systems, and the expected energy consumption of various dryers and systems. How a grain dryer energy audit is conducted will also be addressed.

Speaker: Kenneth Hellevang Ph,D. is a professor in the department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at North Dakota State University. He is an Extension Engineer specializing in grain drying, handling and storage, vegetable storage, structures engineering and building environment.

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