Newspaper Page Text
A2O-Unwr Fuming, Saturday. May 29, 1993
Award-Winning Alfalfa Producer
(Continued from Pago At) are based, and the natural hollow According to the Certified
up to Heidel Hollow’s standards, in the hills where the farmstead Alfalfa Council, Fink’s alfalfa pro-
The less-than-ideal growing con- sits. The area was first fanned by duction has averaged more than
ditions also put a dent in sales Fink’s peat-grandmother’s uncle, four tons per acres for several
about4,ooo tons last year, accord- * Hunsicker. The farm was named years. The hay is cut with a drying
ing to Fink. This year, he said, he’d by Glenn Ellenberger, a former agent applied and baled with a
like to market 5,000 tons or better, county extension agent preservative.
In contrast to the beginning of
the year, which was simply too wet
and cool for too long, Fink, like
many farmers, got off to a slow
start in planting. “We were two
weeks behind,” he said. “Every
thing got two weeks behind.”
The delay won’t affect the third
cutting, but possibly some fourth
cuttings, according to the farmer.
Manage 1,000 acres
The Finks David, his father
Onin, David’s wife Sonia, and
sons Travis, 19 and Michael, IS, in
addition to neighbor Richard
Bachman manage 1,000 acres
in the rolling hills of northwestern
Lehigh County. The farm, Heidel
Hollow, took its name from
Heidelberg Township, where they
For his farm’s efforts in producing and promoting the
"queen of forages,” and for serving the Industry, David Fink
was recently honored with the Producer Award for the
Northeast region from the Certified Alfalfa Seed Council at
this year’s alfalfa awards program In Appleton, Wls.
Some bales, which measure 14 Inches by 18 Inches by 22 Inches, are “com
pressed” to twice their density using this hay compressor machine and warehoused.
About 620 bales (approximately 24 tons) are made to store in a 40-foot ocean
Six hundred acres remain in
alfalfa, mixes, and timothy. The
remaining 400 are rotated with
com and oats to get them ready for
alfalfa. This year, about 160 acres
of new alfalfa (about 80 acres of
pure and the rest mixes and
timothy) were started using several
According to the Pennsylvania
Forage and Grassland Council
newsletter, Fink usually keeps an
alfalfa stand for three to four years.
Fields are limed and fertilized
using nutrients in the chicken man
ure according to soil test recom
mendations prior to seeding. The
first cut is taken early in the spring
and subsequent cuttings are taken
frequently enough to allow three to
four harvests per year.
The hay is square-baled and
accumulated in piles in a field. A
hay rack is used to arrange and
stack 10 bales per row, seven rows
high, on six-foot by 8-foot pallets.
The bales are dried using heated,
forced air (about 20 percent of the
hay is heat dried, or about 100 tons
per week) and stacked on pallets in
the warehouse until shipped.
Some bales, which measure 14
inches by 18 inches by 22 inches,
are “compressed” to more than
twice their density using a hay
compressor machine and wareh
oused. About 620 bales are made
to store in a 40-foot ocean contain
er. (Fink said it is volume, not
weight, that makes up overseas
The haymaking operation was
started by Fink, a Delaware Valley
College graduate, in 1973. But the
farm has remained a poultry and
potato operation since he grew up
The farm also raises about
38,000 layers, one of the few inde
pendent egg producer processors
left, according to Fink.
“There’s only about 1,000 of us
left in the United States,” he said.
“At one time, there was probably
that many in Lancaster.”
The egg operation ships more
than 600 cases or about 2,000
dozen eggs per week. They service
all types of accounts, said Fink,
including restaurants, hotels, hos
pitals, grocery stores, and others.
Quality and service are the keys to
the success of the business,
according to Fink.
But it was a while ago when
Fink realized the potential of sell
ing hay not only domestically, but
internationally. About SO percent
of his business bales and compres
ses fresh quality alfalfa (much of it
tested regularly, at 20-30 tests per
year) overseas, especially to horse
farms in the Caribbean and in Eur
ope (about SS percent of the total
shipped). The other 45 percent is
comprised of dairy and other lives
tock farms overseas.
Also, some of the hay is used to
make mulch, said Fink.
Sales are helped along by some
'jt* I fl
According to the Certified Alfalfa Council, David Fink’s
alfalfa production has averaged more than four tons per
acres for several years. The bales are dried using heated,
forced air (about 100 tons per week at the peak of the season
In September) and stacked on pallets In the warehouse until
of the work he does as eastern
chairman of the Market Develop
ment Committee, a part of the
National Hay Association.
The Association has about 600
members nationwide. As chair of
the market committee. Fink helps
producers find buyers for their pro
duct in this region. He acts as a sort
of broker for producers and a liai
The hay Is square-baled and accumulated In piles in a
field. This hay reek Is used to arrange and stack 10 bales per
row, seven rows high, on six-foot by elght-fbot pallets.
son for those who sell hay retail.
The Association is made up pri
marily of producers, according to
Fink. “But there’s room for
more,” he said. “There should be
a lot more.”
Fink said the recognition is
"quite an achievement" and will
help in marketing his hay.