Seeing new equipment up close and personal is a great thing, and you can do that at just about any farm show or equipment dealership. However, it’s not everywhere that you can see that new combine or grain cart at work in the field and compare it side by side with competitors.
That’s one of the biggest draws at Husker Harvest Days, where the site’s 300 acres of corn and alfalfa give thousands of visitors plenty of opportunities to see hay, harvest and tillage equipment at work.
Each year brings something new to HHD; this year, you can also learn about cornstalk baling equipment at the west side of the show site near the hay demo area.
With more than 600 exhibitors on the newly renovated and fully paved 80-acre exhibit field, HHD is also a one-stop shop to visit with company reps — and bring home the information you need to improve your operation, make the purchasing decision that’s right for you, or just learn about the latest gadgets in the world of ag tech.
This year’s demonstrations are bringing back mainstays like corn harvesting, tillage, haying and precision farming. Every day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in fields 1, 3 and 5, check out new combines harvesting 30-inch-row corn.
Immediately afterward, catch the latest field preparation equipment — spraying, shredding and tillage — on the same fields from 1 to 2 p.m. Tillage demos will include primary and secondary tillage tools, plus high-speed vertical tillage machines.
From 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Field 4, check out new mowers, rakes, balers and hay handling equipment.
Despite a cold start to the growing season followed by high temperatures and dry conditions in May, the 274 acres of 103-day corn planted at the show site are on track for a September harvest, says Jason Luebbe, host farmer.
“We got everything planted on schedule around April 13 to 14. We got short-season corn planted and got the cold snap with a little moisture, then planted the long-season corn and we put the beans in around April 25 or 26,” Luebbe says. “We are right on schedule, maybe even a little ahead of last year. I’m probably looking at 20%- to 25%-moisture corn for the show.”
8 handy tips to get most out of field demos
1. Study the field demonstration map. No one likes walking across an entire show site just to be in the wrong field. Printed on the center insert, for your convenience, is the show map, to show where an intended harvest should happen every day. All demo fields are located near the exhibit field.
2. Stay alert for last-minute changes. If weather (a recurring theme at HHD) or other factors force a change in schedule, show management will make every effort to notify visitors as soon as possible. An electric message board near the main entrance along the Avenue of Flags will keep you updated on your way into the show, or you can simply check in at one of the five Sukup information booths located throughout the exhibit area.
3. Know the times of various demos. Again, it’s no fun missing new combines or tillage machines in the field, so keep in mind the various times and locations of demonstrations. Combine demos are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day at the show, and tillage demonstrations follow the combines in the same field. Strip tillage demos run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
4. Put safety first in the field. Members of the field crews wearing orange vests will help facilitate demonstrations. Please follow their instructions. A rope is used to designate how close you can get to the demonstrations — so please respect the rope and follow directions.
5. Observe marked pass of first run. Field supervisors will label the first pass of each piece of equipment. As supervisors allow you to move across the demo field, this gives you a chance to see what the field looks like after each piece of equipment runs.
6. Use a golf car only if necessary. It goes without saying there will be a lot of people watching the demos. Too many golf cars near the demonstration area poses problems for organizers and other showgoers. If you need to use a golf car to attend demonstrations, please be courteous to others watching the demos, and stay behind the roped area.
7. Take advantage of Ride ’n’ Drive. Once again, several companies are offering Ride ’n’ Drive opportunities to give you a firsthand experience with everything from new ATVs to pickup trucks.
8. Confirm what tools are running. If it’s a specific tool or piece of equipment you’re hoping to see in action, it’s a good idea to visit that company’s lot before demo time and find out which tools staffers are demonstrating in the field. Some companies may choose not to demonstrate all tools, and others may showcase prototype machines you won’t find on their lots.