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9/16/08 Life with Industrial Wind Turbines in Wisconsin Part 9

Today's interview is with a dairy farmer in the town of Lincoln in Calumet County who talks about the troubles with his herd which began when the wind turbines went on line in his community. Stray voltage is of great concern for dairy farmers. At significant levels, stray voltage will cause decreased milk production and affect animal health due to changes in behavior. Though wind developers deny there are any problems with stray voltage caused by wind turbines and the massive lengths of underground electrical cables they require, some dairy farmers have noticed marked changes in their cows and calves. For those whose internet connection isn't fast enough to view this video, a transcript is provided below.

Scott Smrynka
Diary Farmer
Lincoln Township, WI
April 2008

Scott Smrynka speaking about stray voltage trouble on his farm: [Video image:  an ohm reader with flickering numbers] This is a five hundred ohms resistor here, this wire is hooked to my stall, this white wire is a remote ground rod way across way, way away from the buildings. So I can go shut the power off across the road and this will still read the same. So it's coming out of the earth. And I'm four wired. When I shut my power off all four wires are disconnected. So my ground and neutral don't even come to the farm either.
This is coming out of the earth getting on my stalls, and this is where the cows are living.

Q: What kind of impacts are you having?

Low milk production, health issues, reproduction problems, cows dying of cancer and stuff like that. And more of it. More than normal. This [points at ohm meter] before we started was 5000. When the windmills went on, that was 5000. And we've got it this low. By doing a lot of different things that I'm going to keep to myself.
    The utility has been out on this farm numerous times. Every time they come in this yard. An hour before they come in this yard [points to ohm meter] this goes to zero. Before they even do anything. And then when they leave, maybe a day or the weekend, it goes back to whatever is coming out of the earth. So they can clean this up. It's just they can't keep it clean, for one thing. Can't keep it low enough for one thing. You're just battling with them all the time.
    Another thing, our meter's right there for-- we check the water meter for how much water the cows drink. Cows this size, when we were milking before, we  were getting 30-35 gallons of water in these cows. Now we struggle to get over 22 gallons a cow. That's the milk production. You can't get the water in them. You need the water to cleanse their body, their whole system --digest the food.
    Every animal that dies on this farm gets autopsied. Calf, cow-- tear it apart, we want to know what's wrong. What'd she die from. What happened? And what we've seen-- the organs-- the heart was inflamed --the kidneys-- the liver blackened and a lot of-- the biggest thing that seems to come out is the colostrum salmonella. They die from it. It's frustrating. What I'll tell you to make it very simple is it microwaves you from the inside out. That's what it's doing to our cattle.
    You say, what human issues does it have? I'm no scientist, but what I see in my cows gotta be affecting me too, and my family. I mean what you're seeing with these cows-- reproduction and production----- they had the Univeristy vets out her from Madison, saying my cows only laid down 8.3 hours a day and a cows supposed lay down 12 to 14 to 16 hours a day-- I'm only getting half that. It's affecting -- that's why they ain't reproducing. The reproduction isn't there, the production isn't there. So 8.3 hours. That's all these cows lay down. They don't want to lie down. That's why I'm losing the milk production. And another thing we had a university vet come out here and stood right here by the return alley as the cows were being milked and said 33% of our cows are lame. We'll if they ain't laying down, they're going to be lame, right? And then you ask these vets and the utility and that, ok, you had these studies done, and that's what they're saying-- what are we going to do?
    They're saying my stall design needs to be changed. I got three layers of rubber mattresses under these cows feet. How can I get it any softer. Stall design. You can see there's nothing in front of them. When they lunge they can get up and do whatever they want. And the other two groups of cows are in sand bedding, so if they're in sand bedding that's as soft as you're going to get. So I told them I wouldn't buy it.
    Then the vets asked me, what do you think it is?  I said, "Right here."[pointing to the ohm meter] You get that down and I guarantee these cows will lay down. Because at times we get it low. Really low.
    And there's times when I got in trouble here, three four years ago, I clipped a lot of ground rods across the road. Stayed like that for 14 months. This meter went way down. My cows went up twenty pounds of milk, these issues weren't here. Until the utility found it, put it back together.
    Q: So you know where it's coming from.

I know where it's coming from. I have no doubt in my mind. And I had a 30,000 pound heard average before those windmills were up. Now I struggle to get 20,000.
So I mean, it' all boils down to stray voltage---  or I'm not going to call this stray voltage-- ground currents or electrical pollution. There's more to this story than they let the people know. There's a lot we don't know. It's amazing. I just came across it while I was catching this stuff, and trying to figure out and solve my problem, using transformers, you name it. So I mean, what you guys gotta do is do a lot of research. If they're there [the wind developers], pounding on the door, and got permits from landowners and all that, then you're kind of screwed. Because their foot's in the door already. You gotta do this before they get their foot in the door.

Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 08:56PM by Registered CommenterThe BPRC Research Nerd | Comments Off

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