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Cotton big day outs! (23 February 2015)

The industry's joint extension program, CottonInfo, will this week host two cotton Big Day Outs at St George and Gunnedah, aimed at improving grower's energy use efficiency.

Supported by CRDC and the Department of Industry and Science, the Big Day Outs will take a look around two innovative growers' properties, and see what they've been doing on farm to improve their energy use efficiency.

St George growers Ian and Anne Brimblecombe installed solar panels which generate 100kW of electricity in response to concerns about their rising energy costs (about 10 percent per year) and climate change. Their 400 x 250-watt solar panels will soon be joined by a supplementary bank of panels which will enable a 70kW fixed-speed pump to be powered by solar alone on sunny days. Plus, they're also considering floating solar panels. Read Ian and Anne's energy story here

Meanwhile, Gunnedah farmer Scott Morgan has slashed the amount of money he spends on electricity used to irrigate cotton on 'Kensal Green' by investing in solar and by reducing the amount of energy he uses to pump water for his crops. He has installed a travelling irrigator fed by a 2km pipeline (eliminating the need for two lift pumps); replaced a fixed-speed pump with a variable-speed unit on one of his two bores; and installed a 9.6kW solar array. Read Scott's energy story here

The Big Day Outs are taking place at St George on Tuesday 24 February and Gunnedah on Wednesday 25 February. For more information, click here (St George) and here (Gunnedah). The days are funded by the Department of Industry and Science under the Energy Efficiency Information Grants Program.