Happy new year for commercial hay in Estrie

Region suffered less from drought

The Open Day on the drying of hay held on August 14, 2019 at the Martinhel farm in Coaticook in the Eastern Townships enabled the fifty participants to see that the production of commercial hay is popular. Estria is a region pampered at this level with land that lends itself well to this culture, a favorable climate and proximity to the border with the United States.

The Martinhel farm, owned by Francis Martineau and Hélène Bouffard, built a hay dryer warehouse last year, which offers the highest quality in dry hay. The target market is the United States where horse owners are fond of Quebec hay.

For the company, there is no question of targeting the Quebec market. It is a question of market stability. “For two or three years, there have been shortages of hay in certain regions of Quebec, but there has been variable demand,” says Francis Martineau.

The warehouse 100 feet (30.5 m) by 326 (99.4 m) long has two dryers along the building and two huge doors 43 feet (13.1 m) wide. The two dryers each have a capacity of 1,700 small bales for a total of 3,400 bales at a time, six bales deep and eight bales. The curtains are closed and the hay stays there between 12 and 36 hours. The whole works with electricity thanks to an electrical input of 550 amps.

The warehouse cost about $ 750,000, plus the $ 250 to $ 300,000 for the dryers. The payback period is estimated at 12 years, hence the advantage of seeking a stable and profitable market.

The interior of the building helps protect the balls from sunlight. The lights are directed towards the ceiling to provide a more diffuse light and not dazzling for the eyes because the work is often done at night.

A busy half day

This open day on the drying of commercial hay was in fact half a day, but very full of content. The agronomist Anthony Laroche of the Agroenvironmental Club of Estrie made a presentation of Agriclimat on climate change in fodder production.

“I’m going to start my conference with the conclusion,” he said. Climate change will bring challenges, but also opportunities. Estrie will be well positioned in Quebec. “

The Agriclimat project takes place in all regions of Quebec and has two objectives: to inform about climate change in agriculture and to develop an adaptation plan by and for agricultural producers.

Other drying system

The well-known agronomist in the field of fodder plants Germain Lefebvre presented the hay drying system that he developed with his son Antoine Lefebvre. This is a project that Germain Lefebvre has wanted to do for a long time. The Novations AGL system is smaller than that of the Martinhel farm and runs on gas and electricity.

It is a modified trailer allowing to enter 19 large bales in a row. It is possible to add a second row. The width of the trailer makes the length of the bale. Even if it is a trailer, the system is not portable due to the installation required to connect the gas burner unit. The gas heats the air while the electricity operates the ventilation. Currently, only one unit is in operation by the company founded in 2017.