Stray voltage

Stray voltage is low-level voltage that may be found between surfaces that animals contact, such as stanchion pipes, water cups and feeders. Generally, sources of stray voltage exist on all operating electrical systems. Although stray voltage can’t be totally eliminated, it can be minimized.

Causes of stray voltage

Many things can contribute to stray voltage, including:

  • Inadequate connections on neutral or ground wire system
  • Poor grounding conditions
  • Undersized neutral conductors
  • Dirty, dusty, corroded or damaged electrical boxes and devices
  • Unbalanced 120-volt loads
  • Defective electrical equipment

Acceptable stray voltage levels

U.S. Department of Agriculture studies and several universities show that individual cows react differently to various levels of stray voltage and that stray voltage of 2.0 volt AC or less should not cause health or production concerns for livestock.

Symptoms reportedly associated with stray voltage

  • Nervousness during milking
  • Reluctance to enter barns, stanchions or milking parlor
  • Uneven milk out
  • Reduced water or feed intake
  • Low milk production

Free inspection

Contact us if you have questions about stray voltage. Our field representatives can work with you and answer your questions. We can conduct a cost-free investigation on your farm and schedule a follow-up visit to provide investigation results and recommendations.

If you decide to make changes on your farm, our local field representative will assist you with paperwork needed to take advantage of our re-wiring program. By participating in a re-wiring program, you can make your farm a safer place to work.