Farm Stray Voltage


What is farm stray voltage?

Farm stray voltage refers to the presence of low-level electrical voltages on a farm, which can potentially impact livestock and other animals. These voltages are typically unintentional and can result from various sources. While the voltages are generally at low levels, they can cause discomfort or stress to animals and, in some cases, may have implications for their health and productivity.

What causes Stray Voltage & Potential Stray Voltage Effects

Sources of stray voltage on farms can be categorized into on-farm and off-farm origins:

On-farm sources include:

  • Inadequate or faulty wiring
  • Grounding and bonding issues
  • Unbalanced electrical loading
  • Overloaded circuits or panels
  • Defective or faulty equipment
  • Improper installation of electrical equipment
  • Voltages induced from nearby utility systems, such as telephone lines and gas lines

Off-farm sources primarily include:

  • The electricity distribution system

It's important to note that voltage potentials at specific animal contact locations often result from a combination of multiple factors, both on-farm and off-farm. The complexity of stray voltage issues underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to identify and address contributing factors for the well-being of livestock.

Stray voltage can have varying effects on livestock, including but not limited to:

  • Reluctance or apprehensiveness when entering the milking parlour or affected area

  • Reduced water or feed intake as they avoid a possible contact area

  • Increased nervousness, aggressiveness, eye blinking

  • Intense behavioral reactions caused by discomfort or pain

  • Difficulty handling animals in the exposure location

  • Involuntary muscle contractions or twitching

  • Decreased milk production

Dairy farms are most affected by stray voltage due to the sensitivity of large animals to current exposure, increased opportunities for animal exposure in buildings where electricity is used, and often wet/damp conditions in confinement areas that increases conductivity. Farmers should consider and investigate all possibilities, including stray voltage, when seeking resolution of these symptoms.

What do I do if I think I have a Stray Voltage problem?

In the event that a stray voltage issue is suspected, it is recommended that customers first complete the ESA Level 1 Checklist to ensure the elimination of the on-farm voltage occurrences as this is commonly the fastest approach to stray voltage issues.

If you’re still experiencing issues with stray voltage upon completion of the customer investigation, we kindly request that you complete the assessment form below  to initiate a thorough investigation into the matter.

Stray Voltage Investigation Roadmap

Step 1: Initial Consultation

Submit the assessment form to begin an investigation. After we receive your completed form, we will contact you within ten business days to arrange an initial consultation. If a site visit or a formal investigation is required, one will be scheduled accordingly at a mutually agreed date and time. 

Step 2: Farm Stray Voltage Testing

The Animal Contact Test is aimed to pinpoint any areas where farm stray voltage might be present. The data gathered from this test will then guide the selection of sites for the subsequent Farm Stray Voltage Test.

The testing process will determine if the levels of farm stray voltage on-site surpass the permissible limits outlined in Section 4.7 of the Distribution System Code.

Step 3: Distributor Contribution Test

The Distributor Contribution Test is conducted to assess if and how much the distribution system is contributing to the stray voltage on the farm, particularly at locations where animals come into contact.

A percentage contribution is then calculated, reviewed and shared with the customer.

Step 4: Remediation

When necessary, NT Power will contribute to reduce the stray voltage in a timely manner. The timeframe for this will depend on the complexity of the issue and will be determined on an individual basis.

In instances where the farm stray voltage surpasses the acceptable limits, but NT Power’s distribution system is not identified as a contributing factor, the investigation will conclude and it is on the Customer to initiate a more in-depth examination of the farm’s electrical system, which should be conducted by a licensed electrical contractor.

Step 5: Verification

After the remediation work is done, NT Power will work together with the customer to carry out tests. This ensures that the farm stray voltage levels have been successfully lowered to an acceptable range.

Step 6: Conclusion

Where testing has found that NT Power’s distribution system contribution to farm stray voltage is within acceptable thresholds, the investigation will be concluded.



Assessment Form

Customer Information

Customer Name

Account Details

Service Address
Account Details Type


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