Crop and livestock farmers Graham and Gina Darlow had more than 100 power poles and wires running through their paddocks which they had to constantly work around when cropping.
With approximately 1,000 head of cattle they had the added risk of the destabilisation of power poles as a result of cattle scratching themselves against the poles.
Power poles in paddocks present a range of farm safety issues including:
Destabilisation of power poles caused by cattle scratching against the poles risking costly damage to infrastructure and poles and wires knocking together causing fires
Farm machinery colliding with power poles, particularly during seeding and harvesting when machines operate at night, risking peoples’ safety, machinery damage and power pole damage
Pole top fires caused by dust on the wires, extreme weather events or bird collisions
Aerial sprayers accidentally clipping power lines
Providing safe reliable power that met or exceeded the utility’s obligations under its charter.
Analysing the load profile, demands and usage requirements of the household and agri-business.
Mitigating the impact of a power outage on an end-of-grid customer by sizing the battery to be capable of providing 4 – 5 hours of back-up power, allowing the utility time to rectify an issue.
No requirement to travel across farm paddocks, limiting bio-security risks
Ease of access for deployment and servicing
Safe distance from agricultural chemicals
Not inhibiting the movement of large farm machinery
Since the SAPS was installed in late 2019 the Darlows have experienced a range of benefits:
Reliability and quality of power:
Reduction from weekly power outages or interruptions to only one outage.
Improved quality and evenness of power flow.
Farm safety and land usage
The removal of poles and wires in the paddocks has eliminated the issue of pole destabilisation by cattle rubbing against the poles. It has also made it safer to operate farm machinery day and night. Other benefits include:
Removing the costly impacts associated with farm machinery colliding with poles, including lengthy power outages.
Allowing the Darlows to maximise the usage of their land.
Removing the possibility of a pole top fire igniting and spreading through their paddocks.
Making it significantly safer for aerial spraying as aircraft can fly low and stay low
The reliability of SAPS is improving the Darlows’ day-to-day lives, including:
Eliminating the prolonged unplanned outages as a result of issues occurring somewhere along the lengthy distribution spur line.
No longer needing to maintain a generator for back-up power.
Peace of mind when they are off the farm that the SAPS’ 24-hour remote monitoring service coupled with the back-up generator will ensure continuity of power.
“We no longer have the issue of the cattle scratching themselves against the wooden power poles.
When it’s a 1,000 kilogram bull, it’s only a matter of time before the poles will start to sway.” – Graham Darlow