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Forget the dew- make hay when the sun shines

Yarrawonga grain and hay growers John and Evan Ryan have imported Australia’s first hay steamer to end the frustrating wait for the perfect dew.

ALEXANDRA BATHMAN August 19, 2014 3:06am

Evan and John Ryan with Helene and the hay steamer.


Now you really can make hay while the sun shines.

Yarrawonga grain and hay growers John and Evan Ryan have imported Australia’s first hay steamer to end the frustrating wait for the perfect dew.

The farmers travelled to the United States in August last year to purchase a DewPoint 6110 designed by Staheli West.

‘‘We went over to Utah and watched the machine in action which was impressive,’’ Evan said.

Steam produced by the DewPoint 6110 is injected into the hay as it is lifted from the windrow by the baler pick-up and feed chamber.

‘‘It will cut out a lot of risk,’’ Evan said.

‘‘When there is no dew, you just can’t get hay baled up. But this one machine can do it all,’’ he said.

‘‘We often have to wait for dew and bale intermittently which makes lower quality hay.

‘‘With the steamer we can bale hay at any time, even during the day, and still make a high quality bale.’’

According to Staheli West, the DewPoint 6110 can replace two to three balers and bale between 80ha and 100ha in 10 hours.

‘‘It’s more efficient. We can use the hay steamer with just one baler,’’ Evan said.

‘‘We do contract work and we will help people out where we can.’’

DEPI forage specialist Frank Mickan said the DewPoint 6110 was a good machine.

‘‘They would be very useful here,’’ Mr Mickan said.

‘‘When the hay is cut and cured or dried, the dew point needs to be at about eight to nine per cent — sometimes higher.

‘‘The machine can increase the moisture of the bales by three to four per cent. It retains leaf matter and produces a far better quality bale.’’

Staheli West research compared hay baled with dew and hay baled with steam with the same dew point and showed the hay baled with steam had 50 per cent more leaf.

Mr Mickan said while the machine was a great invention, the Australian market wouldn’t see it any time soon.

‘‘They are very expensive. It will be an import-only machine,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a good product for contractors so they can produce a lot of hay at any time within reason.

‘‘The only time it can’t be used is when the weather gets too hot.’’

Staheli West has been working on hay steamer technology for the past 15 years and the machines only recently began mass-production.

But John’s frequent trips to the US with his American-born wife Helene kept him in the loop with the most up-to-date technology.

For more stories about the latest in hay machinery and information, see the 16-page Hay Making feature with today’s Country News.

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