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Hay Testing Device Still Going Strong
Augie Kooistra says the Lightning B Hay Moisture Monitor that his company sells is more important today than it’s ever been in its 37-year history. Kooistra started selling the units in 2009 to accompany his dry hay inoculant and applicator business and says “nowadays producers have larger fields, bigger equipment, and want to get their crop harvested at optimum moisture as quickly as possible. The Lightning B provides continuous ‘on-the-go’ monitoring and can automatically power up an inoculator, so you’ll get consistent, high quality hay.”
  FARM SHOW first wrote about the tester in 1983 (Vol. 12, No. 2) after it was invented by Grover Black, a Cheney, Wash. hay farmer. Kooistra, who bought the company in 2016, contacted us recently about product improvements that have been made to the original model. The device is now available as a manual or automatic model. It has an in-line replaceable fuse, heavier gauge wire, and a new toggle switch for choosing moisture readings in instant or average mode. Lightning B can detect hay moisture levels from 5 to 37 percent. A 3-year warranty is standard, although Kooistra points out that many original units are still performing extremely well.
  “A farmer in North Dakota started using a Lightning B in 1994 and ran 45,000 bales in 22 years without a problem,” Kooistra says. “A Washington farmer installed a unit in 1986 and ran 32 years with the same sensor pads, so I know the product really holds up. I just filled an order for 5 monitors for a large hay farm in Arizona that’s been buying these units for their new balers since 1985.”
  Lightning B sensors mount on the inside of bale chambers and measure moisture by determining the electrical current resistance between the two sensors. Moisture readings are shown on a monitor in the tractor cab. “Knowing the exact moisture of the hay you’re harvesting gives you optimum quality and prevents leaf loss if hay gets too dry,” Kooistra says.
  The standard Lightning B sells for $795. The automatic model, which can switch an inoculant applicator on or off when hay moisture reaches a pre-set level, sells for $1,295. Kooistra says either unit is way more economical than having an OEM monitor that could be priced from $500 up to nearly $10,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Augies’s Ag Sales, 6776 State Route 283, Ephrata, Wash. 98823 (ph 509 797-5612; www.augiesagsales.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3