13 October 1995

Hay without sunshine

EVER wondered if hay could be made without sun? Well a Canadian built machine claims to be able to do just that.

Not perhaps everyones idea of an economic machine, the Hay Dryer employs a 580hp engine to drive a 320kw generator to provide electric power for the machines 210 microwave units.

Green grass is picked up at the front of the 15m (50ft) long machine and is conveyed through it by seven belts. Heat is applied and extraction fans blow out the damp air. The result, it is claimed, is dry grass which retains its colour and freshness.

Inventor, Harold Herron, says that he can mow, dry and bale up to 6ha (15 acres) a day with the machine.

"The microwave units work by "exciting" the water molecules and do not damage the crop," comments Mr Herron, who adds that he has found that customers for his hay are prepared to pay a premium for the finished product.

In terms of cost, Mr Herron declines to say how much the machine costs.

But it certainly isnt for your average farmer.