Forage Focus at 2010 Hay Expo

More than 200 acres of new forage mixes and alfalfa for field demonstrations and 'acres' of new ideas to increase hay and forage production.

Published on: May 20, 2010

The 24th annual Farm Progress Hay Expo returns to northeast Iowa on June 16 and 17. The two-day event, sponsored by Farm Progress Cos., showcases the latest in forage equipment and related products and information. This year’s show site is along Highway 3 on land farmed by Matt and Jana Hamlett, west of Strawberry Point. The Hamlett dairy farm hosted the Hay Expo in 2006.

"For the serious hay producer who needs to make the most out of their crop, the Hay Expo is the best possible place to gather information," says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national shows manager.

New Forage Mix

In addition to alfalfa, this year’s Hay Expo site has 85 acres of Tripper, a high-protein forage blend of triticale and field peas. This mix, along with alfalfa seed, was planted early this spring. The Tripper acts as a nurse crop to help establish the new alfalfa seeding. The Tripper is chopped as haylage in mid-to-late June, and then the alfalfa is allowed to grow. Depending on the year, the alfalfa may be harvested in the fall.

Increase Hay and Forage Productivity

The past two years have had wet springs, and it’s been hard to establish new stands of alfalfa and other forage in many Iowa areas. The Hamletts have seeded extra acres of alfalfa this year to make up for the setbacks and ensure enough forage for the dairy herd.

“We normally try to make an alfalfa stand last at least three years,” says Matt Hamlett. “And you can make it last four or more, even with an intensive harvesting schedule. So it’s frustrating when we couldn’t even get a good stand to last two years. Tonnage wise, we like to get four cuttings and sometimes five off a field each year. Last year we didn’t get that because of too much rain. The production just wasn’t there.”

More than 200 acres of alfalfa and Tripper will showcase mowing, conditioning, baling and silage demonstrations. Visitors will see side-by-side operational comparisons of the various equipment brands in the field demonstrations.

Efficiency and Profitability Ideas

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. Exhibitors plan to showcase a host of new products aimed at boosting the efficiency and profitability of hay and forage production.