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Tradition and the latest technology on the path to success

Pioneers in air dehumidifier drying in the Zillertal valley

At the Oberhubenhof in Fügenberg in the beautiful Zillertal valley, traditional farming on alpine pastures is practised, with livestock farming in the natural cycle of the seasons. The Wildauer family runs the Oberhubenhof in the valley, an 18 ha grassland farm where they use hay for winter feeding, after drying it using the most modern air dehumidifier technology by HSR.

Thus, the Wildauer family is seen as a pioneer in the Zillertal valley, as they are the only ones in the valley relying on this progressive technology. The decision to use the drying system was taken during a visit to the trade fair in Wels, and it was also purchased there immediately. At the time, it was joked that the Reindl family would be invited to a barbecue evening at the alpine hut if the drying system worked even better than promised by Sepp Reindl. But that did not remain a joke for long, as the system exceeded every expectation. The barbecue evening took place a short while ago. A particular highlight was the lunar eclipse over the alpine pastures. A special thank you to the Wildauer family for their warm and generous welcome! And also to Stefan Wildauer, who entertained us on the accordion with real folk music.

Before switching to the HSR system, hay was dried at the farm using hot-air ventilation supplied by a several hundred kW wood burner. Today, the family dries the over 100 metre square hay box using an HSR90 air dehumidifier and a 22 kW Vario fan. The power for this is provided by a diesel emergency backup generator, as the power supply to this alpine region is problematic. The exhaust heat from the plant is fed into the drying system and in this way, it utilises the available resources (combined heat and power generation) in the best possible manner. The Wildauer family is extremely enthusiastic about the change; the feel and aroma of the hay dried with the air dehumidifier are clearly different to those of the old system. The Wildauer family could not have previously imagined these incredible improvements.

Summer on the alp

Every summer, from the end of May or start of June, the young family of Barbara and Stefan Wildauer (40) and their four daughters Magdalena (14), Lorena (10), Rosina (8) and Franziska (3) moves together with their dairy cattle and the other animals to the 300-hectare Holzalm situated several miles away.

The Holzalm in Hochfügen is situated in an idyllic rural paradise within one of the most important winter sports regions of Austria. The beautiful landscape and breathtaking views into the Tyrolean mountain ranges almost make you forget the hard work invested by the industrious family in the alpine terrain. And there is more than enough hard work to be done in this alpine region, yet the family is happy and enjoys spending the summer on the alp. The lifts are mostly idle during summer and on the Holzalm in this beautiful part of the Zillertal valley, it is the quietest time for the year, with only a few hikers out and about enjoying the mountain air.

Festive driving the cattle down from the alp

At the end of September, the cattle are driven down from the alp in a festive procession, followed by a celebration at the Oberhubenhof, which we were already able to catch this year on the 23rd September, with photos and a video. A real folk festival, which will be the object of our next blog entry.

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