By Growcom CEO David Thomson

Horticultural production and packing operations are some of the most energy-intensive businesses in the agricultural sector.

Growcom aims to advance energy efficiency in horticulture production through the delivery of services that move the industry to the forefront of sustainability and innovation.

This year, Growcom has been successful in securing funding under the Energy Savers Program to deliver on-farm services that help farmers understand how energy is consumed and identify improvements to reduce their businesses’ energy costs.

The Energy Savers Program is funded by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) and delivered by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and its member organisations, including Growcom.

The program forms part of the Queensland Government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan to make electricity more affordable for residential and business customers

With the help of the Energy Savers program, business owners can identify what equipment and processes are using the most energy, as well as what options are available to them to upgrade equipment or improve processes to achieve increased productivity and energy savings.

Growcom has appointed Katrina Ziebarth as Project Manager to deliver these services to 40 horticultural businesses throughout Queensland.

Katrina will facilitate the audit of these businesses to identify inefficient equipment or practices. Those growers will then be able to access a Government co-contribution grant of up to $20,000 per business to help implement recommendations from the audits.

In addition to the Energy Savers Program, Katrina will also be delivering the Farm Water Future project to support on-farm adoption of water efficient activities.

Water access and pump related energy continue to be major issues across all horticultural operations with good irrigation management practices strongly linked to improvements in crop quality and quantity.

Through the Farm Water Future project, Growcom will support horticulture growers as they improve their water and energy efficiencies and move towards a more sustainable resource management plan.