New way to hay | TSLN.com

New way to hay

Loretta Sorensen

Courtesy photoTop Quality Hay Processing harvests alfalfa and Timothy hay and takes it directly from the field to the plant to be dried and baled. Hay fields are within a 30-mile radius so that the forage is processed and baled just hours after it's cut.

A brand new twist on forage harvesting is producing alfalfa dubbed “Godiva Hay” that has some horses and cattle licking their lips as they consume alfalfa that’s so well preserved it still looks wet.

The new cutting and drying process is the brainchild of Jeff Warren of Penn Yan, NY. In order to learn more about the process, he purchased his own alfalfa fields and haying equipment.

“My grandfather told me that one person with experience is worth two people with knowledge,” Warren says. “I couldn’t imagine why it was so difficult to produce high quality alfalfa until I started cutting my own fields. It was then I learned that it only rains when you cut hay.”

Through his own experience, Warren realized producing consistently high quality hay was an impossible task using traditional methods. He partnered with several investors to develop a new process and modify equipment to fit the need of that process. The result is their company, Top Quality Hay Processors (TQHP). Warren foresees the new method bringing better quality to the forage business and new industry to agricultural communities across the nation.

“Hay fields supplying the plant need to be within a 30-mile range which means drying facilities are located in the community where the hay is processed,” Warren says. “Our franchise structure allows investors to build their own facility to produce this top quality hay.”

Warren and his partners, John Davie, Chuck Long, Neal Simmons, Mike Kunes and Mark Wickham have invested $3.9 million in TQHP over the past several years. Each line produces about 40 tons of hay per day at their plant. They are in the process of building a second plant in a neighboring community.

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Among the changes Warren and his partners made to the haying process is modifying a swather so hay is cut and immediately loaded into a dump trailer. It’s transported to their plant and dried and baled within a few hours.

“If it’s sprinkling when we cut, we can keep cutting,” Warren says. “If it starts raining hard, we stop and wait until the weather clears. But there’s never hay on the ground so it can’t get spoiled by rain.”

Once the alfalfa reaches the plant, it’s detangled and conveyed through a drying oven and dried to a pre-determined moisture content. Since raking and tedding activities aren’t necessary to the process, the percentage of leaves retained in the finished product is greatly increased. Because it’s dried and baled within a few hours after being cut, the consistent result is a high quality bale.

“This process reduces compaction in the field because you make one pass to cut the alfalfa and that’s it,” Warren says. “It also means farmers harvest 100 percent of their crop. Alfalfa farmers in this community often lose 50 percent of their crop using traditional methods due to wet conditions.”

Giant ovens, conveyors in a 384-foot drying line and other hay processing equipment fill TQHP’s renovated warehouse at Romulus, NY. During their open house in April 2009, approximately 200 people toured the facility and learned about their options for developing their own plant.

Cornell University ag economic development specialist, Jim Ochterski, says, “This is rocket fuel. There’s not much more you can say about it, it’s just very high quality hay and has everything a cow’s rumen can really use. The company is offering it as a top quality dairy hay, either alfalfa or Timothy hay.”

Ochterski says the visual appearance and smell of the hay usually grabs attention because it’s so uniuqe.

A brand new twist on forage harvesting is producing alfalfa dubbed “Godiva Hay” that has some horses and cattle licking their lips as they consume alfalfa that’s so well preserved it still looks wet.

The new cutting and drying process is the brainchild of Jeff Warren of Penn Yan, NY. In order to learn more about the process, he purchased his own alfalfa fields and haying equipment.

“My grandfather told me that one person with experience is worth two people with knowledge,” Warren says. “I couldn’t imagine why it was so difficult to produce high quality alfalfa until I started cutting my own fields. It was then I learned that it only rains when you cut hay.”

Through his own experience, Warren realized producing consistently high quality hay was an impossible task using traditional methods. He partnered with several investors to develop a new process and modify equipment to fit the need of that process. The result is their company, Top Quality Hay Processors (TQHP). Warren foresees the new method bringing better quality to the forage business and new industry to agricultural communities across the nation.

“Hay fields supplying the plant need to be within a 30-mile range which means drying facilities are located in the community where the hay is processed,” Warren says. “Our franchise structure allows investors to build their own facility to produce this top quality hay.”

Warren and his partners, John Davie, Chuck Long, Neal Simmons, Mike Kunes and Mark Wickham have invested $3.9 million in TQHP over the past several years. Each line produces about 40 tons of hay per day at their plant. They are in the process of building a second plant in a neighboring community.

Among the changes Warren and his partners made to the haying process is modifying a swather so hay is cut and immediately loaded into a dump trailer. It’s transported to their plant and dried and baled within a few hours.

“If it’s sprinkling when we cut, we can keep cutting,” Warren says. “If it starts raining hard, we stop and wait until the weather clears. But there’s never hay on the ground so it can’t get spoiled by rain.”

Once the alfalfa reaches the plant, it’s detangled and conveyed through a drying oven and dried to a pre-determined moisture content. Since raking and tedding activities aren’t necessary to the process, the percentage of leaves retained in the finished product is greatly increased. Because it’s dried and baled within a few hours after being cut, the consistent result is a high quality bale.

“This process reduces compaction in the field because you make one pass to cut the alfalfa and that’s it,” Warren says. “It also means farmers harvest 100 percent of their crop. Alfalfa farmers in this community often lose 50 percent of their crop using traditional methods due to wet conditions.”

Giant ovens, conveyors in a 384-foot drying line and other hay processing equipment fill TQHP’s renovated warehouse at Romulus, NY. During their open house in April 2009, approximately 200 people toured the facility and learned about their options for developing their own plant.

Cornell University ag economic development specialist, Jim Ochterski, says, “This is rocket fuel. There’s not much more you can say about it, it’s just very high quality hay and has everything a cow’s rumen can really use. The company is offering it as a top quality dairy hay, either alfalfa or Timothy hay.”

Ochterski says the visual appearance and smell of the hay usually grabs attention because it’s so uniuqe.

for more information on top quality hay producers, visit their website at http://www.tqhp.com