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A field survey of electrical grounding systems of commercial broiler houses in Mississippi and Alabama

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2022 ASABE Annual International Meeting  2200487.(doi:10.13031/aim.202200487)
Authors:   Matthew R Rowland, Gary D Chesser, Jr., John E Linhoss, Jeremiah D Davis, Jesse C Campbell, Joseph L Purswell
Keywords:   Electrical grounding, Electrical resistance, Ufer

Abstract. Commercial broiler house construction, maintenance, and insurance costs continue to increase with the adoption of advanced housing control equipment that aid in flock management through automation of environmental control and data collection. Proper earth grounding is essential for houses equipped with these systems in to maintain life support functions in fully enclosed poultry houses in the event of lightning strikes or other dangerous electrical surges. Protection of commercial broiler houses from lightning induced damage is a significant and ongoing concern for producers, integrators, and insurers. A systematic field survey of commercial broiler house electrical grounding systems would be beneficial in understanding the effectiveness of the grounding system and identifying limitations in lightning damage prevention measures to formulate data-driven best management practices. The objectives of this research were to characterize the condition and type of earth grounding systems on 14 farms (96 houses) throughout Mississippi (MS) and Alabama (AL). Survey parameters included house age, electrical system/controller update, grounding system type (Ufer or traditional grounding rod), geographic elevation, soil type, and earth ground resistance measurements. 63.5% of surveyed broiler houses were at or below the NEC recommendation of 25-Ω (ohms). Survey results indicate newer broiler house construction is moving towards Ufer grounding systems, which resulted in lower resistance ratings than traditional grounding rod installations. Producers should inspect their grounding systems annually to mitigate lightning-induced damage.

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