Hay & Forage Expo opens Wednesday
BOONE — Hay and forage producers can learn more about hay and forage production at the 28th annual Hay & Forage Expo set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday near Boone.
It’s the industry’s only two-day hay and forage event in the nation.
Live field demonstrations of hay making, hay handling and forage harvesting are the key draw for visitors. The two-day extravaganza showcases mowing, conditioning, baling and hay handling demonstrations on alfalfa. Visitors can compare the various equipment brands side by side under actual field conditions.
This year’s event will be held at Central Iowa Expo, the same location where the Farm Progress Show will be held in August. Alfalfa fields designated for parking during the Farm Progress Show will be used for the haying and forage harvesting demonstrations. That means around 150 acres of alfalfa is available for the demos.
The alfalfa acres are owned by Farm Progress Show host farmer Eric Ziel. He says the crop came through the harsh winter of 2013-14 in fine shape. He took the first cutting on the 80-acre north parking lot May 24.
“Typically the first cutting is around the middle of May but the season is later this year by a couple weeks. The crop was a little short and not in full bloom,” he notes. “It probably needed about another week of growth. But we wanted to do our best to have full growth for the second cutting which will be harvested during the Hay and Forage Expo. The field demos will take place on this field. Some will be mowed ahead of time so it’s ready for the baling demos.”
Ziel doesn’t raise livestock anymore so he harvests the hay on shares with the Doerder family – father Daryl and sons Nathan and Cory, who provide the harvesting equipment and labor. Ziel and the Doerders have an established customer base for their hay, such as dairy farm in Kansas, a neighboring goat farm, and they sell hay at the Dyersville hay auction.
The first cutting was put up in big round bales, but second and third cuttings will be big square bales and a few small squares.
A 10-acre exhibit field will highlight displays from the major and shortline specialty manufacturers, seed, building and storage facility suppliers, and a range of related product suppliers. The Haying Industries Tent will have the latest in livestock feeding and handling equipment as well as information on seed, forage crop protection products and much more. Iowa State University and other agencies and organizations will have specialists on hand to answer questions. Each day will feature a seminar.
Visit www.HayExpo.com or call 866-264-7469.