Stand-By Generators For The Farm

Most of us don’t think about electricity until the power goes out. The food in your refrigerator will last a day or two if you keep the door shut, but waiting that long can be disastrous on other areas of the farm unless you have a standby generator. The best time to buy one is on a clear, sunny day when you can calmly analyze what will meet your needs.

Joe Zulovich is an Extension ag engineer at the University of Missouri. He says when figuring the size, determine which electrical items are needed in an emergency. Then, add up wattage of motors, lighting, and anything else that will need power. The size of generator required also depends if it’s an automatic or manual unit.

"If you’ve got an automatic system where when the power goes out, you have a generator kick in and it starts everything up, as a general rule, the motor’s going to take 2-4 times the amperage to start it compared to operating it," says Zulovich. "If you’re doing it manually, you can actually not have to oversize as much, and then just physically, if the power goes out, shut everything down and then start your generator."

Do you go with a portable or built-in generator? If time is of the essence, it should be ready to kick in.

"Confinement building systems, dairy operations to some extent as well will have automatic ones because you’re looking at maybe a 15-20-minute time period to get everything restored, unless you can provide emergency ventilation some other way," he says. "If I’ve got enclosed buildings and I’ve got animals in the building, your response time is pretty short to get everything going before you have problems."

Learn more about buying generators for the farm