Farm Manager, Nick Ruddenklau, oversees the operations of Epasco Farms’ 11,500 hectare crop and livestock agri-business. The owners of Epasco Farms have a strong ethos towards integrating more renewables across their business interests and were looking for a solution to reduce their farming carbon footprint.
The common issues and risks agri-businesses face, such as power reliability, and poles and wires in paddocks are exacerbated due to Epasco Farms’ large scale operations. These issues can impact the efficient operation of shearing and workshop activities, compromise the biosecurity of the farm through the introduction of foreign weeds stemming from machinery movement through paddocks and increase the likelihood of equipment damage due to the farm’s heavy reliance on a relatively unskilled, itinerant workforce.
Providing safe reliable power that met or exceeded the utility’s obligations under its charter.
Analysing the load profile, demands and usage requirements including workshop equipment and an 8-bay shearing shed.
Mitigating the impact of a power outage by sizing the battery to be capable of providing 4 – 5 hours of back-up power, allowing the utility time to rectify an issue.
Ease of access for deployment and servicing
Safe distance from agricultural chemicals
Not inhibiting the movement of large farm machinery
Since the three SAPS units were installed in late 2019 Epasco Farms has experienced a range of benefits:
Reliability and quality of power:
No major power outages since the installation of the SAPS units.
Improved quality and evenness of power flow.
Farm safety and land usage The removal of poles and wires in the paddocks is:
Mitigating the risks associated with using itinerant unskilled labour to operate farm machinery in paddocks.
Improving land usage.
Eliminating bio-security risks associated with utility vehicle travelling across paddocks to inspect power assets.
Removing risks of pole top fires in paddocks.
Making it significantly safer for aerial spraying as aircraft can fly low and stay low.
Operational and cost efficiencies The reliability of SAPS is delivering a range of efficiencies including: :
Full utilisation of the shearing facilities by contractors.
Less incidents involving farm machinery colliding with power poles has reduced machinery repair costs while improving the safety and productivity of the workforce.
No longer needing to maintain a generator for back-up power.
Peace of mind that the SAPS’ 24-hour remote monitoring service coupled with the back-up generator will ensure continuity of power if issues arise.
“Epasco’s owners are proactive in looking for opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint across their business interests.
SAPS is a great example of how it has been possible for us to achieve this, while at the same time benefiting from a number of operational efficiencies.”