Just when hay bales thought they could remain anonymous forever, along comes New Holland to give them a personality–or at least a brand! CropID, an individual bale identification system for large square bales, uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in the twine to track bale atributes.
This innovation enables commercial growers to uniquely tag and sort bales based on a wide range of criteria, so that shipments or storage can be arranged according to the hay types that best meet the clients’ needs. Identifying quality, moisture content, or other characteristics of specific bales is now a simple process, allowing growers to easily decide which bales are the best match for specific customers, or need to be set aside for further curing.
“The wealth of data provided by the CropID system offers a vast array of benefits that have a great value to both the farmer selling the bale and the customer purchasing it,” said Michael Cornman, New Holland Dairy & Livestock Marketing Segment Leader. “The system provides accurate documentation of bales for resale, the exact weight of bales for loading and shipping purposes, the ability to monitor and manage inventory via computer, and it provides customized records for customers.”
In addition to helping growers keep shipments and stacks consistent, the CropID system also has several other uses, such as tracking the amount of hay on hand from each field and cutting.
The CropID system works by encasing a microchip and its antenna in a tag that’s wrapped around the twine as the bale is tied. A precision information processor stores the bale’s information, which includes the bale number, the field number or name, the date and time it was baled, the high and average moisture content, the amount of preservative applied, if any, and the bale weight.
CropID bale tags can then be read by a hand-held scanner that shows information on a screen when held within five feet of a tag. The scanner can also be docked on a loader with the screen visible to the operator. The loader-mounted scanner has additional antennae and reads tags on up to three bales at a time at a distance of up to 10 feet without actually seeing the tag. The scanner creates lists of bales made in each field, and a removable USB memory device can be used to download the lists to a computer.
For hay producers, the verifiable records provided by the CropID system provide paybacks including increased customer satisfaction and the potential for higher sale prices. New Holland continues to work on further enhancements for the system.