Written by: Logan Staheli
What Makes Parowan Hay So Good?
Boyd Badders, owner of Red Rock Hay Company, states, “Here in Parowan, they get more money for their hay than any other valley that I buy hay in.” This begs the question – Why do Parowan, Utah farmers get more for their alfalfa hay? Boyd explains that it is their attention to detail that makes Parowan hay so good. They cut the hay early before it gets too old, they let the hay dry longer before they rake, and lastly, they CRANK UP THE STEAM!
Are You Using the Steamer to It’s Fullest Advantage?
Using the DewPoint hay steamer doesn’t mean that you will automatically make great hay. It gives you better tools to put up high-quality hay, and it definitely widens your baling window, but there are still techniques and best practices that should be considered when using the steamer. Although there are farmers all over the world putting good practices into action and making great hay, there are still operations that are not putting up as good of hay as they could.
Using the steamer properly requires a mindset shift. The tricks used in the past to combat the problem of too little dew are no longer necessary. The DewPoint machine can open your mind to a whole new way of cropping. One of the most important principles in making great hay with the steamer is introduced by Boyd Badders in the video above. You have to CRANK up the steam. The more steam you can add to the hay, the more effective the DewPoint steamer will be at softening the hay, and making great hay. So, in order to add more steam to the hay during baling, it is critical that the hay is sufficiently dry and fully cured.
You Can’t Crank Up the Steam on Hay That Is Green
We know that farmers deal with all kinds of weather conditions, so the principle we discuss next may not be possible in some situations. However, if possible, operations using the steamer should allow their hay to fully cure before baling. This will allow the operator to crank up the steam and add 70, 80, 90, or even 100% steam while keeping the Gazeeka Moisture Guage bale moisture reading withing the 12-15% range. Having the hay fully cured means that there is no stem moisture in the hay. Not only will the steam be more effective at penetrating into the hay and softening it, but this will also allow the operator to apply enough steam to create an optimal bale moisture condition.
Operations who use the steamer in conjunction with stem moisture in the hay will not be able to add enough steam to really soften the crop and get the best leaf retention during baling. Operations who bale green hay (with stem moisture) may only be able to add 40, 50, or maybe 60% steam if they’re lucky. We understand that in some situations, farmers will be forced to bale with a little stem moisture. This will force operators to use a smaller amount of steam which will not result in the superior hay that Boyd is talking about in the video above. For more on baling with the steamer in humid conditions or with stem moisture click HERE.
When Boyd gets out of his car at a steamed haystack in Parowan, Utah, there is no doubt in his mind that it has been steamed. He states, “It’s just solid leaf. It’s soft. It’s beautiful hay, and it’s the attention to detail… I call it cranking the steam up. If you have green hay you can’t turn it up.”
We hope you will keep these practices in mind as you manage the cropping on your farm. Happy steaming from all of us here at Staheli West!