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Home Built Holemaker
About 10 years ago commercial hay grower Roy Canadas of Orland, Calif., decided to try to find a way to eliminate mold and mildew on his hay bales.
Canadas has problems with uneven drying on his hayland which contains both sandy and heavy clay soils, often in the same fields. Windrows on sandy soil dry faster than windrows on clay. If he waits till the windrows on clay are dry, he has heavy leaf loss in the windrows on sandy soil. He needed a new baling method that would let him bale the wet hay along with the dry and not worry about it spoiling later. That's when he got the idea of putting a hole down the center of bales. It took 10 years to perfect his "holemaker".
"It's a lot more difficult than it looks. You have to taper the point just right to make a hole that'll stay in the bales," Canadas explains.
His holemaker bolts directly to the plunger in the bale chamber. It's 11 in. long and tapers back gradually from a sharp point to 2 in. in dia. at the base of the spear. It makes a 7/8-in. dia. hole through the length of the bale. Canadas now bales hay at up to 28 percent moisture with no problems.
"The bales with hay don't get any mold at all. The hole lets moisture escape rather than getting trapped and heating up the bale. I get more for ventilated bales than for conventional bales because quality is higher," says Canadas.
University of California forage specialist Don Toenjes tested the holemaker last summer. He baled one stack of bales with the holemaker and another without it, working in 30 percent moisture hay. He covered the stacks with tarps and let them stand for 30 days. At that time 42 of 45 "ventilated" bales were free from mold while only 7 of 45 bales without holes were free from mold. The ventilated bales also contained considerably less moisture. Toenjes concluded in his report that the holemaker offers considerable benefits to hay producers. He recommends baling at less than 26 percent moisture with the holemaker (hay can be baled at higher moisture contents in arid California than in the more humid Midwest).
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Roy Canadas, Rt. 2, Box 2226, Orland, Calif. 95963 (ph 916 865-2752).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #3