For nearly40 years I've followed ag technology as a journalist. From those early days of the first yield maps to the machine learning we're just learning about today, we've come a long way. But the single factor that has always amazed me is the constant pace of change. Cold market, hot market, you name it and companies keep working to innovate.
I got a good look at a wide range of innovations during Agritechnica, and some will be heading to North America in time for some winter shows, but also for our very own Farm Progress Show in 2020. And as been attested to in this column in the past, I do enjoy my show time (given that I attend at least six major shows a year, that's ample evidence of my addiction).
Winter brings a chill, but also gives farmers a break from the cropping routine and a pause to consider what's owned and what needs updating. With that information, it's time to march to the closest show to learn more.
There are a host of local shows all winter, but the big events are the ones farmers put on their 'vacation' list. The National Farm Machinery Show, World Ag Expo and Commodity Classic hold a special place in the winter show scheme. These events have their own special flavor, offering farmers a glimpse of what's coming for the new season, and the next season beyond.
It's hard to know what companies will have on hand, but as you consider your capital asset purchase plan these shows offer a chance to check out what's coming, and even a closer look at what has just been introduced.
Tips for maximizing shows
There are few among my readers who haven't been to at least one major farm show – but times are changing and the old days of just wandering a show to "see it all" may not be possible in these times of tighter schedules.
I note that there are "tips" but perhaps the biggest tip I can offer is the value of the show application. That "app" is your ticket to efficiency ahead of the show, and an enhanced experience on the ground during your visit.
Sure, you can "S" every row of a show to see things, but if you're in the market for something very specific starting with the product category list on a show site can offer a big pay-back. If you're looking for tillage tools you want to hit more than the majors and biggest shortliners, there are smaller firms out there with innovations to find too. Apps can help you zero in quickly and find those farmer-innovators with something new.
It's also good to check out the "majors" at a show. Those familiar big names are ramping up their games with new technology deployed in new ways and I expect 2020 will be no different.
A couple other tips? Eat at 11:15 (the crowds at all these shows builds fast by those food stands after 11:30). Get tickets in advance if you can for quick entry for those shows. And for an event like Commodity Classic early order of a hotel room helps, though it may be late for 2020, planning a head helps.
I'm looking forward to the 2020 shows given what I've seen already. Talking to companies, connecting with old friends and getting a handle on the trends impacting the market all matter. If you've not attended a farm show in some time, consider it in 2020.
These events are truly a one-stop shop for keeping up with ag tech, and show organizers are working to have the newest players on hand. As always plan to join us at Farm Progress Show and/or Husker Harvest Days too. While they're the kick off to the fall show season, I'm already hearing inklings of some interesting new tools to be introduced then. Getting a hotel reservation now may not be a bad idea.