Two hay dryers imported from Italy got lots of attention at Hay & Forage Grower’s recent Hay Business Conference and Expo in Overland Park, KS.

The event, which drew nearly 200 growers from 25 states and Canada, included a speaking program and a trade show with 35 exhibitors.

The hay dryers have been sold in Europe for about 10 years, but the U.S. marketing effort is just getting under way.

One unit, made by Clim.Air.50, will be distributed in this country by Double D Tractor Parts, Sikeston, MO. The 32’-long structure has two drying floors and can dry up to 16 round bales or 12 big square bales at a time. One or two more drying modules can be connected to it to add capacity.

A burner fueled by propane or natural gas heats air to 100º, then a fan blows the air through the bottom floor to three flexible tubes at the opposite end. Those tubes carry the air to the second floor. All bales are dried from both the top and bottom at the same time.

Double D’s David Eftink says hay can be dried from 35-40% moisture to 12% moisture in seven to eight hours, at a cost of about $10 a ton.

He says artificially dried hay has 40% more nutrients than field-dried hay. So Euro-pean farmers use their dryers routinely, regardless of the weather forecast.

American growers are interested, but most want to see a dryer operating before plac-ing orders. Eftink expects to have a portable demonstration dryer operating soon.

“We’ve been getting calls from people with 50 acres of alfalfa to people with 1,000 acres of alfalfa,” he says.

Contact him at 573-471-2727 or deftink@doubledtractor.com .

A similar dryer is being introduced here by the Italian firm Feraboli. That company’s North American representative is Davide Verardi, Weston, FL. Contact him at 954-547-8790 or daverardi@yahoo.com.