The Expo is a major income generator for California. Watte said a 2002 Fresno State University Expo impact study pegged the value of the Expo to California at $4 billion. Last year, Expo generated about $1.3 billion in income in Tulare County alone.

Exhibitor Jim Warkentin, owner, Produce Sorters International, Visalia, Calif., was far from a lonely Maytag repairman at his busy booth inside Pavilion C. Warkentin promoted the company’s versatile conveyor belts which can sort about 20 crops including cucumbers, onions, oranges, avocados, and melons.

The exhibit showcased a Warkentin-invented-two-lane conveyor capable of sorting about 20 tons of product per hour.

“This year I have the biggest product order that I’ve ever had from a World Ag Expo,” said Warkentin who has 12 years of Expo exhibit experience.

Each year, 10 new innovations are selected as the Farm Show’s Top 10 New Products. The designation drew about 60 people per hour to the Staheli West, Inc. indoor and outdoor exhibits to ask questions about the company’s innovative DewPoint 6110 Steam Distributor.

“This is a new revolution in baling. This will change the industry,” said Dave Staheli, president and founder of the Cedar City, Utah-based company.

“Make dew make hay,” Staheli stated. “Our machine is a steam plant on wheels. It changes your life and your lifestyle. You cut, rake, bale, and haul … Our target is 200 acres in a 6-to-7-hour window.”

The $162,000 fuel “steam plant on wheels” picks up windrowed alfalfa and adds steam to the hay. The diesel fuel-powered machine produces low pressure steam injected from four manifolds as the hay is lifted from the windrow and moved to the packer area of a large square baler. The steam is immediately absorbed into the crop tissue.

“A major benefit of the DewPoint system is superior leaf retention,” Staheli said.  “It Increases feed value by improving leaf retention and palatability. Leaf retention from the top to the bottom of the bale profile is good.”

The DewPoint system eliminates the necessity for natural dew and limited baling ability in the early morning hours. The machine allows hay baling 12-to-24-hours per a day by creating simulated dew-baling conditions.

Actual steam generated is based on real-time moisture conditions. The machine holds 1,000 gallons of water. Five to 7 gallons of water can be required to create steam for one acre of hay.

“One tractor, one steam dew simulator, and one baler can literally do the same amount of work of four conventional tractors, four bailers, and four operators,” Staheli said. “There’s a lot of savings with this system.”

Staheli recommends pulling the DewPoint machine with a 180-plus horsepower tractor across mostly flat ground. He recommends the machine for a minimum of 1,000-acres of hay.

cblake@farmpress.com