GIRD Awarded An Innovative Method For Drying Hay Contract

Posted by: Patrick Cutno
Category: Contracts

Abstract:

This research supports the development of an innovative method of drying hay that will help to reduce farmers’ dependence on good weather for hay harvesting. Currently, farmers need to dry hay down to 15% moisture in the field after mowing to allow for proper storage. Typically, this drying process takes 3 days of good weather (warm, sunshine, breeze) which can be rare, especially in the spring. In addition, the hay must be stirred, or flipped once per day for even drying.The device that is being investigated will allow farmers to bale higher moisture hay (up to a target of 30% moisture) that can be dried quickly using the developed process. Such a device will reduce the drying time from 3 days to 1-2 days and will also save fuel and energy by reducing the amount of mechanical “stirring” required to dry the hay. The envisioned product will reduce crop spoilage and waste due to rain, while simultaneously reducing dependence on accurate weather forecasting. In addition, this will enable farmers to bale hay when the crop is ready without having to wait for a long window of favorable weather, increasing the total yield that can be obtained from a given field. Finally, baling higher moisture hay reduces leaf loss during the raking and baling process, providing a higher quality and more nutritious product. Alternatives to this system include applying preservatives and silage wrapping. Unfortunately, preservatives introduce organic acids and/or microbes into the food supply, and silage wrapping hay bales result in excessive waste plastic that fill our landfills. Further, preservatives and silage wrapping require the purchase of consumable products (the preservative or the plastic), constituting a recurring cost to the farmer. The proposed device is an organic method to dry the hay naturally, does not introduce any foreign material into the hay, and doesn’t require the purchase of any consumables. The resulting abundance of high quality hay will help to lower the costs of raising beef and dairy cattle and help to feed America.

Solicitation Topic Code:

8.13