Knowing the moisture content of the hay crop during the baling process is a significant factor in the longer term quality of the hay. If the crop entering the baler is too dry, shattering leaf loss will reduce hay quality. If the moisture level is too high, heat from fermentation and resulting mold will cause deterioration of the hay’s nutritive value, smell, appearance and palatability for livestock consumption. Hay that becomes spoiled will cause production loss and may result in a health risk to cattle.
When hay is baled with a preservative application system installed on the baler, hay quality is maintained, and its value enhanced, whether it is to be sold or fed. Applying the correct amount of preservative guarantees the best opportunity for maintaining peak hay quality during storage. For the greatest success, accurate moisture sensing becomes a critical factor in the preservative application system.
Harvest Tec, recognized for its expertise in moisture sensing technology, is now introducing Microwave Moisture Sensors for large square balers. There are two mounting options for the sensors; for producers who are using the Staheli West DewPoint™ steamer, two sensors are mounted on the back of the chamber for accurate readings of the artificial moisture. For producers using preservative applicators, sensors are installed in the baler’s compression chamber and get an early reading of the moisture content as it enters the baler, physically closer to the preservative applicator’s spray shield which shortens any lag time between sensing and applying. These sensors read moisture across the chamber instantaneously as the flake moves past, and the reading accuracy is +/- 1 point of actual moisture. The new microwave kits are available on new applicator systems, and are also available as an upgrade option to several previous systems. Microwave sensors located on the baler give the operator instant, accurate, and reliable moisture readings on the go.
Moisture readings can be displayed through the baler ISOBUS on the VT display, or on the operator’s iPad, wireless via a Bluetooth receiver.
The microwave system is an addition to the star wheel sensors on the applicator, and the operator can alternate between the two, depending on the preference. The new technology is completely compatible with other precision hay harvesting systems including the Moisture Dye Marker, RFV Calculator System, RFV Dye Marker and the RFID Tagger, all developed by Harvest Tec and available through major brand baler dealers.
Harvest Tec is an industry leader, developing innovation for moisture sensing and harvesting quality hay. For more information, visit www.harvesttec.com or call (800) 635-7468.