Don't Let the Sparks Fly

Don’t let stray voltage make the sparks fly in your dairy. Actually stray voltage is not strong enough to make sparks fly; if it was, we would all see it.  Dairy cows are very sensitive to extremely low voltages, with research demonstrating that some cows can pick up voltages as low as 0.5 volts and they certainly sense a problem if it’s there. Stray voltage results in cows receiving a tingle or even a mild shock that disturbs their normal behaviour. This often reduces ‘let down’ leaving milk in the udder after milking leading to higher cell counts or increased mastitis cases.

Other Symptoms include:

  • Excessive or unusual nervousness and excessive movement; ‘walking on the spot’ type behaviour.
  • Reluctance to enter or eagerness to leave the parlour.
  • Increased tendency to defecate or urinate in the parlour.
  • Reluctance to drink water.
  • Increased milking time.
  • Increased somatic cell counts.

The usual source of these ‘stray volts’ is from faulty wiring, cracked insulation, incorrect grounding or over loaded circuits.

Electric fence units are also prime candidates for stray volts. NEVER earth the box on the same building as the milking parlour. Use a separate earth at least 20m away. If at all possible, switch mains fence units off during milking.

f you are concerned that your cows aren’t happy in the parlour, get your dairy engineer to check for any stray volts.

To discuss further contact Phil Cooper on 07798 673665 or e-mail