Stray voltage is a natural phenomenon. It is a voltage that can develop on a grounded neutral system of either a farm’s wiring or a utility’s distribution system. If an animal touches grounded metal equipment under certain conditions, voltage on the neutral system can cause a small current to flow through the animal into the ground.
Stray voltage is often misunderstood. Over the past 40 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal, state, utility and dairy organizations have conducted studies on stray voltage. According to these authorities, stray voltage can be kept at levels where dairy livestock health and production are not affected.
If you have concerns about stray voltage on your property, please contact us. Our trained technicians will visit your property, measure voltage levels and explain how to repair outdated wiring on the farm to help reduce stray voltage. A downloadable walk-through checklist will help you inspect areas on your farm where stray voltage levels might be higher than normal. See our stray voltage frequently asked questions for more information. You can also view the stray-voltage brochure.
The USDA Handbook 696 contains additional information on stray voltage and livestock. This PDF may take up to 17 minutes to download on a 56k modem. To request a paper copy of the handbook, call Idaho Power at 208-388-2316.