Field demonstrations of hay making, hay handling and forage harvesting equipment are a hallmark of the Hay & Forage Expo. The two-day show, hosted this year by Wallaces Farmer and sponsored by Penton Agriculture, will be June 22-23 at the Central Iowa Expo site near Boone.
Related: Get ready for Hay & Forage Expo
This marks the 30th annual event; the first Hay Expo was in Iowa in 1986. Visitors can compare equipment brands operating side by side under actual field conditions. Besides the field demonstrations, the exhibit field will showcase products, machinery and services, with company representatives on hand to answer questions.
The expo will also feature daily information sessions. A discussion of the legal aspects and rules for commercial drone operation on farms will be presented by attorney Philip Stiles. The use of drones has increased tremendously the past few years. With the Federal Aviation Admini-stration reformulating regulations on drone use, Stiles will explain current and proposed rules, and discuss the future of this technology in agriculture.
Niño to Niña transition
The weather outlook for crops will be presented by Iowa State University Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor. He’ll discuss the El Niño weather pattern of the last year and if it will turn into La Niña this summer. If it does, it could be bad for crop yields. It depends on when the transition occurs and how long it takes.
This summer Iowa has a 40% chance of a drought as the El Niño weather pattern ends. But major damage to crop yields is not likely, Taylor says. Corn and soybeans will be protected somewhat from drought damage because El Niño rains that have fallen over most of the state have filled the subsoil moisture reserve, overfilling it in some areas, especially in northwest Iowa.
Hot and dry weather from La Niña, if it occurs, may well come after the primary growing season in Iowa. After an El Niño event ends, the chances for dry weather tend to increase later in the summer.
Get answers, information
Something new this year will be a hay auction, on June 22 only. Educational exhibits by ISU Extension and other organizations will have specialists available to discuss forage and livestock production, and soil conservation topics.
Overall, the focus will be on harvesting, feeding and handling hay. The exhibits include a look at perennial forage plants and their value for grazing and harvest. Another exhibit will be on feeding switchgrass grown and harvested for the energy market, which can be used in beef feedlot diets. ISU research compared mature switchgrass to cornstalks at up to 14% of dry matter in the diet.
ISU also will have information on hay transportation and storage, baleage production and storage, the impact of tub grinding on net wrap, and the role of perennial forage plants in improving water quality, reducing soil loss, and aiding pollinator and wildlife habitat.
Coming tomorrow: Hay & Forage Expo adds educational programming