Bracken Farms’ Struggle to Make Quality Alfalfa Hay Led Them to the DewPoint Hay Steamer

A Farm’s Struggle to Get Dew

Many hay farmers don’t truly understand the challenges that farmers face in the Western U.S. and in other arid climates, because in so many other parts of the world, people have the opposite problem.  They get to much dew and have a hard time getting the hay dry enough to bale quality hay.  However, like the Bracken’s, farmers in drier climates around the world are struggling to get enough dew to bale quality hay.  Baling hay too dry means losing more leaves and shattering the crop during baling, so it’s critical to have just the right amount of moisture on the hay.  The problem is, mother nature is inconsistent and often doesn’t provide any moisture at all.

Enterprise, Utah’s Climate

The Bracken’s deal with a variety of climatic conditions.  In June it is often hot, windy, and dry with temperatures of around 95-100 deg. F.  In July-September they experience more of a monsoonal flow where it’s a little more humid but still very hot.  Because of their climate, they had to get creative about how they made hay.  They would have to bale the hay while it still had a little bit of stem moisture, because if they waited for the hay to completely cure, it was disaster.  Of course, at the time they were running small balers, which can leach out moisture better than large bales.  Once they moved to large balers, the risk of fire was to great to bale with stem moisture.  Once again, they had to get creative.

Water Trucks

The Bracken’s were having such a hard time getting dew that Howard had to take things into his own hands.  They purchased two water trucks and started spraying water on the hay prior to baling.  Howard is the first to admit that it wasn’t perfect, but it was all that they had to work with.  This required two extra operators and more equipment, but it was better than the alternative of bone dry hay that would surely shatter during the baling process.

water truck spraying hay

The 72-Hour Challenge

For years the Bracken’s continued to spray the hay with water prior to baling.  They had started a trend in the valley, because other farmers soon followed and were spraying water on their hay as well.  It was the summer of 2013 that farming in Enterprise would forever be changed.

Dave Staheli, owner of Staheli West, grew up in Enterprise, Utah and knew the potential that enterprise could be for the DewPoint hay steamer.  Knowing many of the local farmer’s, Dave along with his crew set-up what would be called the Staheli West 72-hour challenge.  Click here to watch the 72-hour challenge.  The task of the challenge was to bale quality hay for 72-hours straight with one tractor, one baler, and one DewPoint steamer with a goal of 4,500 bales.  Many were skeptical of the idea and didn’t think that it could be accomplished, but Staheli West not only exceeded their goal of 4,500 bales, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations as well.  Howard Bracken states, “That was the tipping point that probably changed our minds more than anything about the steamer.” Kirby Bracken explains, “They were baling dairy-quality hay in the middle of the day.”

Now, Staheli West not only enjoys their relationship with the Bracken’s but many of the other farmers in the Enterprise valley who have now adopted the DewPoint technology.

The Community Ice Rink

Raising Community Standards

Staheli West’s mission statement reads, “Raising individual, family, and community standards while revolutionizing the agricultural industry.”  At Staheli West, we do much more than just build, service, and sell farm equipment.  We feel a need to not only raise our customers’ and employees’ standard of living, but also the communities’ standards in which we do business.  Staheli West is a proud member of Cedar City, a small, tight-knit town in Southern Utah.  Apart from other things, Staheli West, along with many community volunteers has brought a whole new recreational activity to Cedar City – The Glacier Community Ice Rink.

The History

The Glacier Ice Rink has been in operation since 2013. It resides between the Cedar City Aquatic Center and The Lake at the Hills. The idea for the rink was conceived years ago by Dallin Staheli at Brent Hunter’s Farm in Enoch, Utah. The Staheli brothers grew up ice skating on the farm’s irrigation ponds during the winter. Over time, rinks were made with hay bales and plywood, and interest in the community grew.

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A local non-profit group call YETI began using the rink on the farm to offer some youth hockey and public skate programs. It quickly became apparent that a more official ice rink was needed. With a lot of hard work on the part of Dallin Staheli, the Staheli family, YETI, local volunteers and a leap of faith on the part of Cedar City, a seasonal, refrigerated rink was built in the current location

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The Glacier Today

Staheli Rec Management, a non-profit entity, currently owns and operates the Glacier Community Ice Rink, with hopes that the entertainment will strengthen families and the community.  The Glacier offers public skate sessions throughout the week for individuals, and school, church, and other groups.  The rink also offers hockey leagues for all ages and experience.  The rink is just one way that Staheli West gives back to the community.

Dave Staheli, President and founder of Staheli West states, “One of my favorite things to do is to go up and get on the ice with a bunch of other happy, smiling people from Southern Utah. I love seeing the good old-fashioned fun being shared by individuals, families, couples young and old, friends, church groups, etc. I am thankful we have been so blessed to be able to be a part of something good here. I am also very thankful for everyone else who has helped bring this to reality.”