Agriculture and Dairy

Industrialized agriculture has power quality needs similar to most industry, and remote farms may have unique needs. The electric utilities in rural areas are typically less robust and more susceptible to power events. Stray voltage on dairy farms will irritate cattle, reducing milk yield.

Applications for Agriculture and Dairy

Power quality and energy impact operations at all stages of the agricultural industry. Large industrial agriculture operations may experience the same power events that plague all manufacturing. Agriculture and dairy have some unique applications that power quality may impact.

The rural areas where farms are typically located have a less robust electrical grid than urban areas. Farms are therefore more susceptible to sags, swells, and outages than urban factories. Power outages are likely to be longer that in urban areas. Farms may use phase converters to operate three phase equipment in areas where only single phase is available. Phase converters can have issues with phase imbalance and harmonics that affect the equipment they power. Grain elevators refine agricultural products after the harvest.

Grain elevators are large facilities with numerous induction motors. The frequent starting common in grain elevator service can cause voltage sags. Induction motors are reactive loads and therefore have low power factors. Induction motors are often retrofitted with variable frequency drives to reduce energy consumption and starting current. Variable frequency drives both contribute to and may be damaged by poor power quality. Utilities assess a surcharge for low power factor, which can be caused by reactive loads and nonlinear loads. Grain elevators also employ sensitive electronics such as weigh bridges and thermostats. Power quality issues can affect the accuracy and stability of electronic measurements. Regulatory compliance may be impacted by
measurement uncertainty.