13 Jul 2010

Cows electrocuted on farm

12:47 pm on 13 July 2010

An Otago farmer is calling for an audit of power lines on farms after eight of his dairy cows were electrocuted by a fallen line.

Alistair Kerr says the 33KW line which carries power from the Waipori dam, dropped to within two metres from the ground on his Taieri farm on Monday.

The line sagged within reach of the dairy herd, causing three cows to die instantly from electric shock. Another five died soon after.

The cows were among a herd of 80 in a wintering paddock when the line dropped.

Mr Kerr says it appears an insulator holding up the power line cracked.

He says TrustPower, which manages the lines, has told him it will compensate him for the loss of the cows, which were in calf and worth about $2000 each.

But, he says, replacing them at this time of year will be near impossible.

He hopes none of the remaining cows suffer abortions because of the incident.

Mr Kerr says the company should carry out an audit to ensure the same thing does not happen again.

TrustPower says investigations have confirmed an insulator failed after heavy frost caused a split in the porcelain body.

It says this sort of incident is unfortunate and very rare.

It says the broken insulator has been replaced with a double insulator and the company is confident its annual line inspections are sufficient to prevent such an incident from happening again.