Test hay swath moisture in-field with this DIY mini-baler

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Bale moisture probes are great once a bale is made, but trying to determine moisture of a hay swath is another challenge entirely.

Most methods — including drying down a sample and doing some quick math — still take more time than is ideal, especially if hay is drying quickly and is intended as ensiled feed, or if bad weather is moving in quickly and the goal is dry hay with limited spoilage or risk of heating.

The tricky part of a bale moisture probe is that is needs hay to be tightly packed in order to give an accurate reading. To get around the issue, Ron Thaemert at the University of Idaho developed a DIY-mini “baler” made of PVC pipes and ends.

In this Ontario Diagnostic Days Extra, forage specialist Christine O’Reilly tries her hand at making the unit and testing swath moisture. Will it work? Watch to find out!

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