Live field demonstrations of hay making, hay handling and forage harvesting equipment are a hallmark of the Farm Progress Hay Expo. The two-day hay extravaganza showcases mowing, conditioning, baling, hay handling and haylage demonstrations on alfalfa. Visitors are able to compare the various equipment brands operating side by side under actual field conditions.That means ample acres of alfalfa and other forages are needed to run those demonstrations.
This year’s Hay Expo, June 19 and 20 will be held at Regancrest Holsteins, six miles north of Waukon. With more than 600 acres of alfalfa, there will be plenty of hay ground. Normally, the Regans harvest about 90% of the alfalfa as haylage, which is stored in bunkers. But they are providing plenty of alfalfa for the other demonstrations as well.
Since the Regans are continuously reseeding fields and generally use oats as a nurse crop, there may well be some oatlage harvesting during the Expo, depending on how the crop has progressed by Expo time.
Winterkill, delayed harvest
Like many producers, Regancrest experienced some winterkill on their alfalfa fields this year. “Generally, that occurred on flat areas where water stood,” says Bill Regan.
The late spring has caused some concern as well. “Normally, we aim to start harvesting around May 25, but this year it will be a little later,” notes Bill. Nevertheless, he says, with plenty of warm weather during the day and night and adequate moisture, there should be plenty of regrowth in time for Hay Expo demonstrations.
Many of the demonstrations will take place on first-year alfalfa fields. But some third- and fourth-year hay fields will be used for demos and parking areas.
Besides the 600 acres of alfalfa, the Regans also raise around 1,000 acres of corn, half of which is chopped as silage. Typical of northeast Iowa, the fields are rolling and can be quite steep at times. Therefore, most crop land is farmed on the contour with alternating strips of corn and alfalfa. “The strips are generally 90 to 120-feet wide,” explains Bill.
More than machinery
While at the Hay Expo, be sure not to miss the large number of exhibitors in the Haying Industries Tent. You will find what’s new in livestock feeding and handling equipment, as well as companies with displays and information on seed, forage crop protection products and more.
Educational exhibits by Iowa State University and Outreach, and other agencies and organizations will have specialists on hand to answer your forage and livestock production and soil conservation questions.
Also new this year is an informative session during the lunch hour by Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist. He will offer hay buyers and sellers tips on how to maximize their resources.
And, you don’t have to worry about going hungry or thirsty. The Allamakee County Cattlemen will serve food and drink on site and the Allamakee County Dairy Association will serve ice cream and milk from the local WW Homestead Dairy.