Barn-Dry Big Bales?

In most hay-growing regions, growers have a tough time getting the crop dry enough for problem-free storage in big square bales.

Barn drying may be the answer, says Philippe Savoie, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada engineer at Laval University in Quebec City.

“Drying it down to 25% is fairly straightforward. The main problem is near the end when we're trying to dry it to 15% or even 12% for the commercial hay market.”

He's researching the feasibility of removing the last few points of moisture with a forced-air fan. He visualizes a single layer of bales laid on a large drying floor.

“The idea would be to dry quickly — 24 hours or 48 at the most,” says Savoie.

He's working with a lab-sized dryer and plans to test a bigger model in summer 2002.

Toxin-Free Tall Fescue Looks Impressive

Animals gain just as well on tall fescue infected with toxin-free endophytes as on endophyte-free varieties — and stand persistence may be better.

That's according to University of Arkansas researchers. They grazed beef steers in three groups. One group consumed fescue containing toxin-free, also called novel, endophytes. Another group grazed endophyte-free fescue, and the third group was on fescue with toxin-producing endophytes.

Average daily weight gains from novel endophytes were the same as those of endophyte-free fescue and nearly double those of toxic fescue. Early results also show that novel endophytes tended to improve stand persistence over endophyte-free fescue.