Do it yourself drip tape, fuel pump security, and technologies that measure the nutritional value in alfalfa were hot topics for hay and forage growers attending a 2015 World Ag Expo seminar in Tulare, Calif. in February.
Producer Jack Chapman, who grows alfalfa on 450 acres in Merrill, Ore., was intrigued by a presentation by Jeffrey Roberts, president of Harvest Tec in Hudson, Wis., on ways to determine the relative feed value of alfalfa (RFV).
RVA is a way of detecting variations in bales of 30 to 40 point swings and sorting them to determine the percentage of TDN - total digestible nutrients - which can vary considerably from bale-to-bale.
Using the system, ranchers can then channel bales of different nutritional levels to different livestock, depending on their needs.
Roberts said alfalfa growers can sample fields before cutting for “clipping analysis” lab studies. This saves on coring costs for testing later.
According to Roberts, the feed value can then be calculated while baling. Bales can then be marked with stripes that indicate TDN value — one stripe for TDN 56-59, two for 60-63 TDN, and three for plus 64 TDN.
Tests at Utah State University showed that the system came within 3 percent of the results of laboratory tests of individual cores.
A radio frequency tag affixed to bales enables users to scan and sort when loading or feeding.
The university found that milk production increased by four pounds per head per day when the hay was sorted using the radio frequency system.
Roberts says Harvest Tec just introduced the system, which requires a scale on the baler, processor, and software. These are available, he says, from AGCO, Case IH, and New Holland.
Ripped off at pump?
Is somebody ripping you off at the pump? Greg Stewart of Stewart Tech has developed technology that tracks users of fuel and puts restrictions on how much they can use. If the amount is exceeded, you’ll get an alert.
“This protects your fuel from going into any machine that isn’t yours,” Stewart said. “With it, you can determine who is fueling which machine with how many gallons.”
Alerts are also sent for worsening gas mileage.
“And if your machinery needs an oil change after 200 miles, as soon as 200 miles are logged, a work order for mechanics is created and a text or e-mail alert is sent,” Stewart said.
Monitoring cameras for the system are equipped with night and day vision. Cameras and networks are operated through one central system which eliminates monthly fees for remote locations. Users can text the camera and it will send back a snapshot.
Netafim, a pioneer in surface and subsurface drip, has developed a do-it-yourself drip irrigation system that does not require trenching.
According to Netafim’s Dennis Hannaford, the system relies on flexible pipes which are more affordable, portable and reusable, recyclable, leak proof, and capable of being installed quickly.
The system PolyNet is a flexible polyethylene pipe with built-in threaded outlets used for surface and subsurface drip. PolyNet includes mechanical rewind options which enable feeder lines to be moved from field to field or stored on wheel-like devices.
The rewind spool also makes laying out the system easier. Coils can be up to 328 feet long.
“The perfect application of this combines drip irrigation and conservation tillage, which saves labor, water, and energy,” Hannaford said.
He says PolyNet is lightweight, has very low expansion, and is ultraviolet- and chemical-resistant. A full line of lateral and branching connections is available.
According to Nick Ohrstrom, forage harvester specialist with John Deere, the company has improved its 8000 Series machinery with a heavier drive, the ability to make auger adjustments from the cab, and “no more sprocket changes.”
The redesign addressed previous challenges of reliability, fuel efficiency, comfortable cab, and easier crop-to-crop changes. The new machinery has also increased feeding capacity.