Winter Storms are Brewing, Keep the Lights On!

( Taylor Leach )

Mother Nature teased us earlier this month with little snow and mild temperatures. Now it seems that Old Man Winter is back in full force and is gearing up to blanket large parts of the country with snow yet again.

While keeping a generator on the farm may seem like a “no-brainer” when it comes to preparing for a storm, making sure this life-saving device is ready to go at any moment is a necessity.

“Generators can lose their efficiency over time when left unused so it is a good idea to not only run them periodically but also have them checked and serviced by a qualified electrician,” says Andy Overbay, extension agent and unit coordinator in a Virginia Cooperative Extension Dairy Pipline article.

When selecting a generator for your operation, Overbay suggest talking with your utility provider who will supply you with your kilowatt usage. For power take off (PTO) powered generators, it’s important to remember that for every kilowatt of power your generator is rated to provide, your tractor must supply 2 horse power (HP) at the PTO.

“If you have a generator rated at 60kW then your tractor needs to be at least 120 HP at the PTO,” Overbay says. “This is especially important to remember as most of today’s tractors’ rated horsepower is engine HP at the flywheel.”

Some producers believe that high voltage situations are the main concern when running a generator. While this should be monitored, Overbay says that low voltage levels are the real danger because it actually generates more heat.

“If you are using a generator that is not providing the proper voltage to your breaker box, fires can be a real possibility,” says Overbay.

With several months remaining during the winter storm season, be sure to look over your equipment to make sure everything is working properly. It’s hard to run an operation in the dark!


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