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Look What They're Doing With Hay
Canadian researchers are testing a promising new method of handling hay. Called a Melfort Hay Tower, the technique has been under test for 8 years at the Agricultural Research Station in Melfort, Sask.
Basically, the Hay Tower is a tight cylinder of chopped hay with a hole up the center. The stack is formed as hay is added to it during harvest. Hay is fed out by an unloader that loosens the hay and drops it down the center hole onto a conveyor belt.
The advantage is that hay can be harvested at 50% moisture and dried with unheated air in the stack. Partially dried hay retains its leaves and has a high nutritional value. Handling it in chopped form makes for an automated harvesting and feeding system.
The Hay Tower has a 25-ft. dia. concrete base and a 5-ft. dia. air duct up the middle for drying. Four steel beams along the outside of the tower support the roof. As the stack is built, a steel "bung" forms the 5-ft. dia. hole up the middle and later diverts air blown into the stack outward horizontally to dry the hay. The roof is raised as the stack is built.
When finished, an unloader is suspended from the supports to loosen the hay and drop it down the center hole.
"Quality of hay stored in the Hay Tower is excellent," says S. E. Beacorn, director of the research station. "When we've fed it to steers, they've gained 4 lbs. daily.
"We think the Hay Tower will be useful where farmers have a problem drying hay," Beacom points out. "Right now, the economics of this method are not good, but with beef prices going up, the Hay Tower could become an econimically feasible structure."
For more details, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, S. E. Beacom, Director; Canada Agriculture Research Station; Box 1240; Melfort, Sask., Canada S0E 1A0 (ph. 306 752-2776).

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #2