The first day of the 23rd annual Farm Progress Hay Expo attracted visitors from across the Midwest and beyond. Besides license plates from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, one family traveled from Lubbock, Texas, to see the displays and field demonstrations.
LONGEST DISTANCE: Richard Carter and his family traveled from Lubbock, Texas to take in the 2009 Farm Progress Hay Expo. Carter plans to more than double his acres of hay in 2010 and he checked out the latest equipment and supplies on display.
"We read about the Hay Expo in The Farmer-Stockman (a Farm Progress publication) and decided we'd like to see the show," says Richard Carter, a hay producer from
Lubbock, Texas. "We flew to Chicago, rented a car to come to Hixton and we're glad we did." They plan to spend the days after the Expo touring other areas of interest in Wisconsin.
Carter has about 500 acres of hay, 4,000 acres of wheat and 1,000 acres of other crops. Next year he expects to have around 1,200 acres of hay ground.
Nearly 75% of producers polled in an unscientific survey taken at Hay Expo say they have not and do not plan to convert hay ground to row crops this year or next. In fact, many, such as Thane Pederson, Whitehall, Wisconsin, plan to increase hay acres in 2010. He plans to boost hay acres from around 350 to over 400 acres. Likewise, Joe Gordon, New Sharon, Iowa, will boost his acres from 100 this year to 150 next year.
LOWER BREAKEVEN PRICE: Thane Pederson, Whitehall, Wisconsin, who grows most of his own feed for his 180-cow dairy herd, says lower fertilizer prices this year will help trim his feed costs this winter by around 10%.
Visitors to the first day of the two-day event got to see mowing, tedding, merging and chopping demonstrations. They had the opportunity to see competitive machines operating side-by-side in actual field conditions. "More than 20 different brands of mowers and mower-conditioners operated in the fields on Wednesday," says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national shows manager.
POPULAR DEMONSTRATION: Hay mowing demonstrations seemed to be a highlight of the first day of the 2009 Hay Expo as large crowds got up close to compare the machines in action.
Jungmann expects to deploy a full set of field demonstrations today, Thursday. "Hay wasn't dry enough on Wednesday for baling, but we're confident we will be able to run those demonstrations, including bale handling equipment on Thursday," he notes.