NewHarvest Tec on-baler RFV calculator demonstrated at USU Forage Technology Day

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A forage field day was held Aug. 24 to demonstrate the new on-baler Relative Feed Value (RFV) Calculator System recently developed by Harvest Tec, Inc. of Hudson, Wisconsin. Utah State University co-hosted the event at their Caine Dairy facility. 

Local and regional hay producers, along with dairy operators observed the system that was installed on a large square baler as 30 bales were made.  Bales were identified and marked based on their RFV levels (low, medium, high) and sorted accordingly for feeding.  Twenty additional sample bales were on display that had been made from a previous cutting.  The calculated RFV values of these bales were shown to attendees along with bale coring test analysis results from 2 separate labs. 

Prior to this harvest year, the USU staff, headed by Dr. Allen Young, completed a study of 546 bales showing the RFV Calculator system readings in comparison to the lab analysis of bale coring samples. Dr. Young told the Forage Day attendees that USU’s evaluation revealed a production increase of six pounds of milk per day per cow was achieved by sorting and properly feeding the alfalfa hay.

Harvest Tec advanced systems are also benefiting those businesses involved in the export market. Joe Jessop of ACX International Ag Management attended the event and stated, “I am very impressed with the new Harvest Tec products, particularly the bale identification and tracking systems, as tracking and inventory are always a big concern in the export market.  Having an indication of the RFV measurement of every bale is an industry-leading advancement.”

The Harvest Tec system works on the principal that higher leaf content of a bale creates greater density and bale weight, and therefore higher feed quality.  Prior to baling, a sample of the hay is tested at a lab.  The lab’s number is entered into the system as the starting value, and the system uses data from the baler’s scale and Harvest Tec’s accurate moisture sensing system to determine the RFV of every bale.  That score can then be recorded on an RFID tag attached to the bale string, or the bale can be marked with food grade striping, with one stripe for 140-160 RFV, two stripes for 160-180 RFV or 3 stripes for over 180 RFV.  With this identification in place, alfalfa hay can be bought and sold more fairly, and properly fed to dairy cattle to achieve higher production results.

The following chart shows the test results of the sample bales shown at the Forage Field Day.  These scores show inconsistency and wide differences between results of the two labs, and large spreads in their numbers.  One significant difference is that lab analysis shows results just from a single portion of a bale, while the Harvest Tec system measures the entire bale.

 

UTAH STATE TECHNOLOGY FIELD DAY RESULTS 8/24/2016 (20 sample bales)

Bale ID #

 Dairyland Lab, Arcadia, WI RFV

Utah State Lab RFV

Harvest Tec On baler calculated RFV

2195200779

152.35

192.66

168

2195200792

158.61

169.06

162

2195200794

171.18

187.65

159

2195200808

175.94

200.56

171

2195200821

164.63

144.46

173

2195200866

198.19

174.58

189

2195200868

164.27

136.46

186

2195200869

143.92

160.79

178

2195200870

153.45

155.76

173

2195200881

172.36

120.03

175

2195200889

163.96

169.26

171

2195200896

183.18

211.06

190

2195200898

158.27

202.67

182

2195200899

158.7

164.22

185

2195200907

166.75

185.63

172

2195200921

173.5

189.3

178

2195200928

163.25

178.02

186

2195200931

159.39

139.56

181

2195200936

158.06

193.85

173

2195200937

154.23

166.59

192

average RFV

164.70

172.10

177.2

spread in values

                       55 points

              72 points

              31 points

 

Alfalfa producers and dairymen at the USU Forage Field Day learned how to benefit from this new technology that is destined to revolutionize the way RFV is measured, eliminate the need for random bale coring and provide a way to know the RFV of every bale.  For more information, contact Harvest Tec at (800) 635-7468 or visit the website at www.harvesttec.com