**Supreme Court Upholds Award for **Marathon County Dairy Farmers ](“http://www.nachi.org/forum/”)
MADISON— The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld a nearly $533,000 award to Marathon County dairy farmers who claim a power company’s stray voltage hurt their cows’ milk production.
[In a 4-to-3 split decision Thursday, the court rejected arguments made by Northern States Power Company that the lower court’s decision be overturned.
The company has argued that some of the verdict questions a judge submitted to the jury were in error. But the state’s high court says no errors were made.
In the Marathon County case, James and Michael Gumz of rural Athens said they began noticing physical and behavioral problems in their herd in 1991, 10 years after they bought their parents’ dairy farm. The problems included cow deaths and poor milk production.
The problems persisted, and in 1996 they asked Northern States Power to conduct tests for stray voltage.
Stray voltage is electricity that leaks from a utility’s electrical distribution system or farm wiring. Some utility companies argue stray voltage isn’t a problem, while some farmers claim it hurts cows’ health.
The power company said its tests showed the “cow contact voltage” was below the “level of concern.” However, an independent electrical tester hired by the farmers determined that stray voltage from the power company’s distribution system was coming onto the farm.
The Gumzes sued in 2001 and were awarded $332,336 by a Marathon County jury for lost milk production and lost market value of their cows and $200,000 for “annoyance” and loss of use and enjoyment of their property.
An appeals court upheld the ruling, which the Supreme Court affirmed Thursday. The high court said the Gumzes’ action was not barred under the state’s six-year statute of limitations because they showed reasonable diligence in investigating the cause of damage to their herd.
Voltage doesn’t “stray” anywhere. The current goes where it is supposed to go. Problems do occur, and are incorrectly labelled as “stray voltage”. However, they are typically due to improper grounding methods, or with insulation that has broken down.
“Howdy George, this is Farmer Bob down the road. It looks like some of your voltage broke away from your house wiring and ended up zapping Bessie as she was being milked. I was wondering, if you get a chance, could you mosie on over and round up the voltage and bring it back to your wires? Thanks.”
Sorry I disagee lots of reasons why this can happen example metal fences and burried pipe lines can get induced voltage .
Water pumps can leak.
There are hundreds of different things some can not be expained .
We might get less stray voltage with no grounds in some instances
Sorry, a properly grounded fence will not pick up a “stray”, or induced voltage. To what reference would you measure this voltage? The ground that the fence is attached to? That wouldn’t make sense now would it?
lol…i think you are taking the term way too literal…lol…but you need to speak to Mike Holt a bit first…he also likes to use the term in his newsletters…but we all know what it is…oh i did not write the article …it was sent out by Mike Holt…he can be reached at email@example.com if you would like to discuss stray voltage and the symantics of it.
I am just pasing on the article and the courts rulings…
Oh…to me “stray voltage” is like the little boy who lost his way. He knows the intent and where he wants to go…just finds it a challenge to get to to his intended destination…but he will in due time.
By the way guys…there is always voltage o the earth…we cant reduce it…only bring the suroundings upto it…lets focus on that versus calling it anything by name…it is what it is…and thats all it is…tehehehhehe
Let also understand that in most all cases the problem of “stray voltage” is from utility wiring in the ground or improper done wiring.
No the stray voltage is not…magically produced from nothing…thats induced voltage and it takes something to happen ( usually involving a flux of a magnetic field to keep it simple)…so i think in one of the links joe posted says it real well.
if you really want to know more…check out Mike Holts newsletters on the subject…so stray is sometimes not likes… but stray to one can be something to another.