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What is Stray Voltage?
The term stray voltage has been used for the past 40 years to describe a special case of voltage developed on the grounded neutral system of a farm. If this voltage reaches sufficient levels, animals coming into contact with grounded devices may receive a mild electrical shock that can cause a behavioral response. At voltage levels that are just perceptible to the animal, behaviors indicative of perception such as flinches may result with little change in normal routines. At higher levels avoidance behaviors may result.

The term stray voltage is often applied incorrectly to other electrical phenomena such as electric fields, magnetic fields and most recently electric current flowing in the earth. These phenomena are generally referred to as EMF or Electric and Magnetic Fields. The physiological interactions with these phenomena are different than the mild shock associated with stray voltage. For more information on EMF and other electrical exposures, go to the EMF Page.

The following is a broad range of information resources intended to increase your understanding of stray voltage. Should you have information to contribute to this Web page, please contact the MREC at mrec@uwex.edu..


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