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Studies have evaluated the average resistance of a cow to current flow at about 500 ohms against more than 1000 ohms for humans.

The disorders observed in animals are directly dependent on the intensity of the current passing through them. From the threshold of 1 milliamp (0.5 volts), there is perception, with a possible stress, without a decline in production.

Dairy cows were subjected to different current intensities. Their reactions have been studied and their influence on milk production has been analyzed. As shown in the table (click here to view the table), no production decline was observed up to 6 milliamps.

Observable stress symptoms on the cow

Warning Signs : Nervousness, hesitation (refusal to enter or leave milking station) and extended milking period.

External Signs : Clinical mastitis

Consequences : Number of somatic cells elevated in milk and chronic mastitis

Presence of parasitic currebt in the operation

Electrical and magnetic phenomena are inseparable components of the environment in which we live. Some are natural, such as telluric currents circulating in the ground, the Earth's magnetic field, the atmospheric electric field with its most spectacular manifestation during thunderstorms: lightning. Others originate from the domestication and use of electricity, particularly in livestock farming. In dairy farms, the milking building includes areas where many electrical, electronic and computer equipment coexist (milking machines, milk tanks, etc.). In addition, electric fences, the electrical distribution network, radio relay telecommunications are all systems that induce signals with low to high energy.

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What is parasitic voltage?

Parasitic voltage occurs when there is a voltage difference between the ground and farm equipment electrically connected to the ground, such as metal stalls, feeders or milk lines. These low-level voltages usually pose no danger to livestock. But if an animal touches a metal piece carrying such a voltage, the weak electric current thus created can pass through the animal. Stray voltage is also called "contact voltage", or "tingling voltage". Several symptoms have been observed in dairy cows that could be related to these parasitic voltages :

  • Reluctance to enter the milking area.
  • Reduction of water and food consumption.
  • Nervous or aggressive behaviour.
  • Inconsistent and incomplete milking.
  • Increased number of somatic cells.
  • Lower milk production.

These symptoms may also be the result of other non-electrical factors on the farm, such as illness, malnutrition, lack of hygiene, or problems with milking equipment. Breeders should consider all possibilities, including parasitic voltages, to try to resolve these symptoms.

What causes parasitic voltages?

Non-farm sources : In a well-functioning electrical distribution system, there is always a current between the neutral conductor or the "neutral" (ground conductor) and the ground. Neutral-to-earth voltage can change from day to day or season to season, depending on changes in electrical charges, ambient conditions, and other factors. For safety reasons, Hydro One's grid neutral system is connected to the farm's grounding system. This link protects people and animals against electric shock caused by faulty electrical equipment or lightning, but it can also produce parasitic voltage equal to a fraction of the neutral-to-earth voltage on farm equipment connected to the earth, such as feeders, water troughs, metal structures for stalls, metal grilles and milk pipelines.

Farm sources : Parasitic voltages may be caused by faults in the farm's electrical installation, improper grounding, unbalanced farm line load, faulty equipment, or voltages in telephone lines or gas lines.



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Expertise in parasitic voltages



  • A diagnosis and a quote must be made by Gaétan Martin Électricien inc.
  • The quote is valid 90 days.
  • The quoted price is final and will be honoured unless there is a common understanding between the parties.
  • Taxes must be added.
  • The parasitic voltage equipment and solution must be installed by Gaétan Martin Électricien inc.
  • Half of the payment is due upon receipt of the invoice and the other half within 30 days of installation.
  • Whatever the reason for your dissatisfaction, Gaétan Martin Électricien inc. undertakes to reimburse 50% of the cost of the work.
  • For a maximum of $ 7,500 in the first 3 months of installation.
  • Equipment and solution must not be altered, mechanically broken or altered by whomever and must be in good condition.
  • Gaétan Martin Électricien inc. will reclaim the equipment and connect the ground according to the electrical code and good practices.
  • Our solution is compatible with all electrical inputs in all the farm buildings.
  • Our solution is compatible with electronic fluorescents, variable speed drives, trainers and all brands of milking systems.
  • Our solution remains the best value money can buy.
  • Our solution is virtually indestructible and maintenance costs are minimal.
  • Our solution is CSA approved and meets electrical code and insurers’ standards.

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