Updated: Friday, 05 Aug 2011, 11:57 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 03 Aug 2011, 5:40 PM MDT
ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Farmers in southeast New Mexico are still struggling with production and prices due to the drought. But one farmer has gotten his hands on what could be the solution.
"This machine is, I really think it's going to change the way that we put up hay in New Mexico," said Doug Whitney, referring to a new machine called the DewPoint 6110.
It's the latest technology in farming, and it's taking production to the next level. Whitney has been baling hay for more than 40 years, and he said the dew simulator has made his life a lot easier.
"It looks like it's going to be a very practical alternative for us," Whitney said. "Instead of having to get up and check your hay in the middle of the night, and wait for the perfect condition to come along, we just wait until the afternoon sun gets lower in the sky and we just start in baling."
The machine holds more than 1,000 gallons of water. Using steam, it simulates dew, which causes the hay to stick together, making it easier to bale. So where farmers used to always have to rely on weather conditions, Whitney can create his own.
"It's been a real God-send this year to be able to have this kind of technology, because we haven't had dew at night," said Whitney. "There was a lot of nights this year we had no dew at all."
Because he can now create moisture, his product has also improved. "This year being as dry as it is, we're able to produce a good quality bale of alfalfa, which enhances the value of it," Whitney explained. Even so, the drought has made this year tough.
"It's not magic, it doesn't change what we have out here this year, but it sure helps the condition that we can put it up in and make it a lot better feed," Whitney said.
Right now, Whitney is the only farmer in New Mexico with a dew stimulator, but he said that could change. "There's a lot of farmers in the valley that are interested in this machine," Whitney said. "They're just kind of waiting to see it work for somebody before they go out and get one."
Whitney said the simulator also increases nutritional value for cows. The moisture makes it easier to retain the leaves in the hay, whereas drier hay separates, making much of the nutritional components go to waste.
Just one dew stimulator will typically replace three to four conventional hay balers.
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