The spontaneous combustion of curing hay bales poses serious safety and financial issues to farmers and ranchers across the United States and abroad. The primary cause of this spontaneous combustion is the baling of hay before it has adequately dried and reached a sufficiently low moisture content level. This inadequate drying is primarily due to the farmer allowing the hay to dry in the field after cutting for a given period of time. But unfortunately, this does not always ensure that the hay has sufficiently dried before baling. Spontaneous combustion of hay bales is due to a proliferation of thermophilic bacteria that thrive in a moist and hot environment. If the moisture content of hay is greater than 20%, it provides a suitable environment for mesophilic bacteria, which can heat the hay to as a high as 140°F. Although this is not problematic in and of itself, a 140°F hay bale is a suitable environment for the proliferation of thermophilic bacteria, which can further heat the hay to 170oF. At this temperature, the hay can spontaneous combust, destroying the hay and risking the loss of buildings, equipment, livestock and agricultural workers. To combat this problem, a low-cost, low-power, wireless hay bale status sensor suite has been developed so that the farmer can easily and safely monitor the conditions inside a curing hay bale, to give the farmer time to take action before the bale spontaneously combusts. The battery operated sensor suite has two sensors in contact with the hay inside the bale, a printed circuit board (PCB) moisture content sensor and a discrete temperature sensor. The extremely low-cost of the PCB moisture content sensor is what enables the practicality of the sensor suite. WiFi is used to transmit moisture content and temperature data to the farmer's smartphone when it comes within range. The sensor suite is placed inside the bale at the time of baling. After the bale has fully cured, in four to six weeks, the reusable sensor suite can be removed and used in a new bale.

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