Another way to stay efficient is doing their own repairs during the rare times something goes wrong with either of the robots. That means keeping over $25,000 in equipment on hand so they can fix mechanical parts, with over the phone assistance instead of waiting for a technician to arrive from Wadena, Minn., 70 miles away.
Overall, Palmquist and Marshik arevery happy with their decision, and encourage other producers to look for energy efficiency opportunities. While it’s impossible to compare the old and new barn with their very different systems, the turbine covered 25% of the electricity costs when they milked in the tie stall barn. Today, the turbine and solar panels cover 20% of the farm’s electric costs.
“It does take a lot of time to search and apply for the grants,” Clare admitted. “But if we want to save energy, especially with things like solar and wind, the returns aren’t there yet without funding from somewhere.”