by Peter Webb for Progressive Dairyman
The dairy industry has been modernizing, for over 20 years, with new technology such as fans, stable cleaners, manure pumps, fluorescent lighting, milk-cooling equipment, compressors, transponders and alarm systems, etc. Little attention has been paid to the fact that such devices emit electromagnetic fields (EMF), which can have effects on the health and performance of cows.
Electricians used to ground rural wiring to well casings. The practice tends to alter the molecular structure of well water. The water molecules enlarge and so the water is not easily absorbed at the cellular level. Electrolysis of the well water results in metallic taste, since the casing ionizes. The water hardens and has little surface tension. Consequently, cows lap at the modified water and do not drink the amount required for optimal milk production.
Electrical wires are spun clockwise, making the fields spin clockwise, which can interfere with minerals that have a counter-clockwise polarity. So, there can be a contrary response in vitamins and mineral absorption in the cows. This reaction appears to involve iron, selenium, vitamin E, iodine, magnesium, potassium and copper absorption and weakens a cow’s immune system, increasing infections and udder health and reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Another indicator of EMF interference are cows’ nostrils. Normally they are pink to red. When problems occur their nostrils become white and have a clear mucus running from them – a sign of an animal under stress.
Cows are sensitive to a variety of EMF phenomena. Interference with hormonal production can occur in milking parlors with considerable fluorescent lighting (which give off radio frequency emissions, numerous extremely low-frequency biologically irritating sawtooth waveforms of harmonics and cathode rays), digital monitors and milking machines with their strong near-fields. Such devices can interfere with the animals’ pituitary gland, restricting the oxytocin hormone production required for milk letdown – causing milking machines to be left “on” longer than necessary; this effect causes the teat ends to become sore and uncomfortable and fester into infections.
Since hormones are an important part of reproduction, the cost of breeding increases. Other factors in conception are proper pH and an adequate supply of calcium, magnesium, protein and trace minerals needed to produce a healthy egg, all of these are restricted by EMFs. In tiestall barns, behavioral problems are more noticeable. A cow may lie sideways, stepping on the teats of the next cow; there is a marked increase in tail swishing and kicking when milking machines are in operation.
EMF errors in modern milking parlors can make it difficult for some cows to cooperate in the milking process; the same problem exists in robotic milking parlors. A costly health problem is sore feet and swollen joints in dairy cows that can be traced to EMF errors. When these stresses are removed, improvement in milk production occurs with higher butterfat and protein content reporting.
Equipment wiring may carry radio frequency/microwave components associated with wireless technology transmitters. For example, a sub-harmonic 500,000-cycle pulsation signal has been monitored reaching a dairy barn from a nearby cell phone antenna transmitter. It built up in animal bodies as if they were capacitors and discharged when cows urinated or drank, causing shocks that heighten cows’ nervousness.
EMF should not be confused only with stray, tingle or transient voltage. That phenomenon involves physical current traveling along water vein and water table paths back to substations. EMF include magnetic and electric fields in energized electrical equipment and wireless transmissions. There also exist static magnetic phenomena of lines and grids of force that are linked to the planet’s poles, which are well documented in books. They have different names such as ley lines, curry net and Hartmann grid.
They are also observed in stables and dairy barns in energized or high-density equipment (including in large manure storage tanks with high amounts of reinforcing steel). These tend to localize and amplify effects and EMF errors found in electrical current.
A technical solution for this is a grid to pick these up and to lead them away from the facility.
According to experience, it seems that some static EMF phenomena appear to be positive, others negative; when they are out-of-balance, they have negative responses on animals and people.
Considerable cost to the dairy industry associated with EMF problems stems from the loss of nutrients in crops; even plants experience stress as do animals, with an estimated 20 to 50 percent decrease in nutrient uptake, making plants susceptible to insect damage. PD
For more information about EMFs, go to http://www.laurentia.ca