Power outages usually occur when least expected. Last week was the exception when the electric company notified us that our power would be turned off for a two hour period while existing lines were replaced. Power outages at home are inconvenient and often irritating but, it's more than inconvenient when you are looking at 300 dairy cows that are ready and waiting in line to enter the milk barn and the lights go out!
Thank goodness we have a plan of action for the dairy when the power does get interrupted. Electrical power is important for cow comfort, quality milk and dairy food safety. Our cows' comfort depends on keeping to the milk schedule. Electricity is used to run the equipment in the dairy barn to milk the cows, cool the milk and keep it cool until it leaves the farm for processing. Power is also needed to run the system that washes and sanitizes the milking equipment after all the cows are milked before the next milking time.
Until last year, we used a generator that could be hooked up to the tractor to generate enough electrical power to get the cows milked. After experiencing five days without power from an ice storm and fearing that our small generator might not survive another lengthy power outage, we decided to invest in a stand alone generator. This generator is much larger, runs more efficiently and provides enough power to get the cows milked,keep the milk cool and sanitize the milking equipment.