Effects of a high-voltage direct-current transmission line on beef cattle production

Bioelectromagnetics. 1990;11(4):273-82. doi: 10.1002/bem.2250110404.


Two herds of beef cattle were maintained beneath a +/- 500 kV direct-current transmission line during a 30-month period, and were compared with two similar herds maintained away from the transmission line. Exposures of animals under the line were five to 30 times greater than those of control animals, depending on the parameter of interest, with average exposure magnitudes of 5.6 kV/m, 4.1 nA/m2, and 13 k ions/cm3, respectively, for electric field, ion current, and density of ions. Productivity and health status of cows and calves were similar between lines and control treatments. Mean body mass of cows increased with maturity, from 438 kg in 1985 to 496 kg in 1987. Calf gain averaged 0.93 kg per head per day. No unusual sources of mortality were observed. Based on this confinement study, beef cattle permitted to graze in the vicinity of a high-voltage, direct-current transmission lines are not expected to experience any decrease in frequency of conception, calving, growth rate, or survival.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle* / growth & development
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Pregnancy