Last week I talked about my whirlwind trip to Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show and I can't believe how crowded by first-day visit to the show was. For some areas it felt more like a Thursday than a Wednesday for a veteran farm show visitor. Farmer-packed aisles made moving from one area to another more difficult and for many exhibitors I talked with - not all - the mood was upbeat.
Coming off the worst Corn Belt drought in 50 years that was good news, but not unexpected. Experiencing one year of drought doesn't stop you from investing in the business and getting ready for the next crop year. Crop prices, while slumping for new-crop supplies, have remained strong for the 2012 crop. You're investing and a big show like Louisville is a great place to learn more.
My rushed trip through the farm show means I probably missed a few of new products (my apologies in advance), but my newbie-colleague and I will be making available a good-size chunk of new products soon in our Technology Update section where you can check out what we found. We're talking more than 60 new products and we still didn't catch them all (and that number may go up but as Dan reported in his own blog - he is new to this).
I did see some new trends. Electric planter metering systems - from Horsch Anderson, Kinze and Precision Planting - got plenty of attention. It only makes sense the technology eliminates so many moving parts and allows for enhanced precision planting. In fact, Kinze is even looking at higher speed planting even with higher populations, which is possible for this technology.
We're also looking at managing crop residues. In the past five years the number of chopping corn heads from third-party suppliers has ballooned, and that technology is getting even more robust. And manufacturers are looking at ways to manage the residues off the combine. Geringhoff, for example, has a new combine head for 2014 (not this season) that will windrow residues. And New Holland has been promoting the idea at the show as well (see photo). That march to 300 bushels per acre means dealing with more residue, and if cellulosic ethanol ever gets traction, we're going to want technologies that help us gather up that new "treasure." to sell.
I'll share more thoughts on all of this in future blogs, but from where I sit after last week's show - the mood is still pretty strong, but that thought of lingering drought won't leave us for awhile. That's especially true for folks in the Western Corn Belt who are seeing drier weather than last year. If there's something you want more info on, let me know.