Hay continues to be a hot commodity as more markets embrace alfalfa and Timothy hay pellets as stock feed. The dairy and cattle industries look for hay with the highest possible nutritional value to ensure their end products meet their consumers' demand. Guaranteeing that high hay quality requires careful monitoring of its moisture content (MC) throughout harvest, baling and storage.
Delmhorst's FX-20 and FX-30 moisture meters for hay, part of their Navigator™ series of moisture meters, offer hay producers the precise MC measuring instruments needed for their volume and type of crop. The FX-30, which features Delmhorst's proprietary EDGE™ App with Bluetooth® connectivity, goes further by facilitating an expanded data collection capacity and the ability to share that data from any location.
Moisture Measurement Tips For Optimal Crop Value
To ensure that your customers’ livestock benefits from the highest quality feed, follow these seven handy tips to optimize your hay quality:
- Establish the target MC level for the crop you're harvesting. Not all hay is the same; typically, it is one of two plant types: grass (which includes Timothy, rye, fescue, and Bermuda grass, to name just a few) or legume (alfalfa and clover). The type of hay determines its optimal %MC.
- Use a moisture meter designed specifically for hay crops. Delmhorst's FX Range of moisture meters for hay (the FX-2000, FX-20, and FX-30) offers user-friendly devices that provide accurate and timely MC measurements at almost all stages of the grow and baling cycle. Lightweight with a back-lit LED screen and a variety of testing capacities, these meters have the capability to collect MC data on-the-go while baling, in the field, and from the bales themselves while in storage.
- Measure the %MC of baled hay more than once. Hay in the windrow eventually reaches a moisture level that matches its environment. If weather conditions change during baling, that equilibrium level of hay MC can also change. Finished bales often sit for a period of time before transport to their final destination. While sitting, they can absorb moisture from the ambient air or sweat out pre-existing moisture due to hot or arid conditions. As noted above, both of those circumstances threaten the crop's ultimate nutritional value. Spot checking the %MC of bales while in storage will ensure that those ready to be shipped have the appropriate MC level for use as stock feed.
- Use the proper probe for the MC test at hand. For example, Delmhorst's 831 probe is ideal for measuring the %MC of loose hay in the windrow, while testing a packed bale requires at least a 10" long probe.
- Use clean probes. These measuring devices assess electrical resistance to ascertain moisture levels. Any dirt or impurities clinging to the probe’s surface can compromise the accuracy of the test. Keeping them clean assures a correct reading and also a longer life for your moisture meter and probes.
- Maintain accurate calibration. An MC measurement is valuable only if it is correct. Checking the calibration of your device often is the best way to ensure it captures data accurately.
- Use Delmhorst moisture meters. As an industry leader, Delmhorst has earned its stellar reputation by consistently producing innovative, accurate, and easy-to-use moisture-measuring devices. Your hay-producing enterprise can count on Delmhorst’s moisture meters for hay to ensure all your customers get the high quality they're paying for.
Extend Your Moisture Reading Capacities with Delmhorst's FX-20 and FX-30 Moisture Meters
Delmhorst's FX-20 makes field testing hay easier than ever. Lightweight and with a back-lit digital screen, the easily portable device can detect a moisture range of 6%-40%, and you can set an alarm to sound when your reading hits your optimal %MC level. It also has an auto timer and can be set to go off at the 1m, 4m, or 10m mark.
Delmhorst's FX-30 provides even greater versatility with its groundbreaking EDGE™ app with Bluetooth® connectivity. The FX-30 is fully digitized, and its customizable settings facilitate calibrations for more than just hay. It can also measure the %MC in hops, hemp, Brazil nut, date, and tobacco crops. Additionally, its Bluetooth® feature connects your meter to your business documents and databases, so you gain even better control over your crop data. Time stamps and geotags add even more depth to your overall knowledge base.
Today's agriculture sector is booming, and hay as a feed crop is growing in popularity. Call Delmhorst today to find out how to maximize your hay crop value by optimizing its quality with a Delmhorst moisture meter for hay.