Rain halts baling, but not Hay Expo
BOONE – Although cooler weather prevailed on June 21 for the second day of the Farm Progress Hay Expo held in Boone, the more than an inch of rain the previous night put a damper on field demonstrations.
While plans were setaside for companies with baling and bale-hauling equipment to show off their newest and best implements, windrow mergers and forage harvesters had the opportunity to take to the fields including forage harvesters from New Holland, Claas and John Deere.
The 2008 New Holland FR 9060 according to Michael Cornman, segment manager of hay and forage brand marketing for New Holland, offers the widest cutter head of 34.5-inches and 28-inches in diameter on today’s market.
This cutter head, according to Cornman, is 15 percent larger in diameter and up to 30 percent wider than the competition.
Cornman said five models make up the 9000 series of New Holland forage harvesters that range in horsepower from 424 up to the 9060 that features 824 hp.
The 9060 also features a VariFlow system, Cornman said, that moves the accelerator to the cutterhead when not using the crop processor, saving horsepower and fuel as well as providing high capacity production.
The Claas 980 Jaguar, according to Matt Jayness, products specialist for Claas, features, “drive efficiency, reliability, serviceability, capacity and chop quality.”
He said 30,000 Jaguar models have been sold worldwide, helping making Claas a global market leader.
The 900 series of Jaguars consists of six models featuring a new intelligent engine management system with a continuous moisture meter system; an enhanced information and control system, all featuring the V-MAX chopping drum.
Wrapping up the trio of forage harvesters’ demonstration was the John Deere 7750.
Jim Buchs, solutions specialist for John Deere, said one of the biggest of the 7770’s features is the technology it brings to the company.
Buchs said the machine has capabilities to record and store data on a map-based approach including tonnage, the field and specific job.
Taylor and drought
In addition to the several equipment displays and exhibits, Iowa State University Extension provided educational programs and displays focusing on various forage topics.
Elwynn Taylor, ISU Extension climatologist, spoke both days of the Hay Expo.
The impending drought was a universal concern among the crowd for Taylor’s program.
Although there are some signs of the possibility of a drought, those signs, Taylor said, are not as strong as they were back in 1988 and there is the usual uncertainty of which way the weather will go.
“I’m not saying we are going to have a drought, but we are long overdue for one,” Taylor said.
The ultimate definition of a drought, Taylor said, is essentially decided by the government – if there is a 10 percent drop in yield below the trend line in corn.
“It is important to know your county’s trend line,” Taylor said. “When there’s a 10 percent drop, that’s when assistance comes in and usually insurance kicks in then, too.”
So, are we about to experience a 10 percent cut in our yields?
“On average we don’t go 19 years without a drought and the last one was in 1988,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, the longest Iowa has gone without a drought in the last 800 years is 23 years, which is now.
“If we escape, we’ve broken that record and it’s hard to break an 800-year old record,” he said.
One of the dozen or so displays provided by ISU Extension was one that covered the possible candidates for biomass crops of the Midwest.
Brent Berns, undergraduate student at ISU, was available at the expo to talk to those interested in learning more about biomass crops.
The educational display provided information on kinds of plants, such as switchgrass and corn stover that are currently being grown and also, the possibility of a future plant, such as miscanthus to be grown for biomass usage.
Biomass, Berns said, is using plants and plant material for energy production Farmers, he said, were showing interest in the educational display.
“Some of the more traditional crops they (farmers) are familiar with,” Berns said, “and they were expanding their knowledge with the other ones.”
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