Sunday night I was helping milk at my dad and brother’s dairy. We were about 2/3 done milking their 120 cows in the middle of a pretty good thunderstorm, when we lost electricity on the entire farm. Everything stopped, barns went dark, and we couldn’t milk cows. It only last a few seconds and then the power came back on again. A lightning strike was extremely close to the dairy farm and knocked the power off. Shortly after the electricity came back on we were able to keep on milking, well for only a few more minutes when we lost vacuum. Vacuum is what works to pull the milk away from the cows teats, contrary to the belief that we “suck” the milk out of them, we just use it to move milk through the pipelines. My brother and I rushed into the milk room where we could smell smoke from an electrical fire and quickly assessed that we have blown the vacuum pump motor. We quickly decided that we weren’t capable of fixing this and made a call at 9:30pm to the local electrician. Within 30 minutes Bill was on farm and working on the situation. Thankfully it was a quick fix, a contactor had blown out from the load of the power surge. We were only down for about 1 ½ hours, and we were very grateful to be milking again, as were the cows.
|Blown out contactor on vacuum pump|
Once we were up and running again, we reflected on how this situation could have been worse. We could’ve had a fire, we could’ve had a motor that was damaged and more importantly we could’ve been waiting a long time for help. We are blessed to have a local infrastructure that is very supportive of agriculture. It’s important not to take those businesses that support agriculture for granted. Without a local electrician that could help us, we could have been waiting for hours or more importantly our cows could have been waiting for hours. When you have an udder full of milk and it’s milking time, the struggle is real; poor cows. When you have an emergency on farm it is crucial to have your key services local. I know my dad has always valued the importance of working with local vendors for farm supplies, services and materials. I see now that I am older that we really depend on having those small businesses local and take a lot of pride in impacting our communities. We feel confident spending our dollars with these companies and keeping our towns thriving. So, thank you local businesses for your support for all agriculture in your area! We greatly appreciate all that you do, especially when we are desperately in need.