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FPS planting report

All 360 acres of corn were in the ground at Boone, Iowa, by April 28, in preparation for the 2018 Farm Progress Show. Here’s a look behind the scenes at the nation’s largest outdoor farm show.

Holly Spangler

May 7, 2018

How do you make sure you can harvest 360 acres of corn in front of an audience in late August? You plant “crazy early hybrids,” says Matt Jungmann, national events director for Farm Progress. “That way we’re sure we have a crop to demo at the end of August.”

Prairie Farmer caught up with Jungmann for a look at what planting conditions were like at the Boone, Iowa, site, and what you might see at this year’s Farm Progress Show, home of the largest field demonstrations in the U.S.

What has to happen to get all those field demo acres planted? John Deere steps up a lot on all of the acres that are involved. They do a lot more than just throwing a planter and a tractor at us. They do all the work, including secondary tillage, planting maps and the actual planting. Everyone wants it to look as good as possible. We certainly appreciate that, and the host farmers do, too. It takes the worry off of the host farmers; then they can take their equipment and go do their thing.

What have conditions been like at the show site? Tillage is done and planting was finished by April 28. Like a lot of the Midwest, it’s been a little bit of a slow start. But if we get normal heat through the summer, I’m not nervous about getting 80-day corn ready to harvest at end of August.

How do you decide what hybrids and companies to plant? Each host farmer makes their own arrangements, and there are several different brands represented. We have our requirements for the maturity — that it’s 78-to-80-day corn — and the host farmers take that information and work with whatever company they want. The same thing happens with nutrients and crop protection, and it’s a variety of products. We don’t use any starter fertilizer, and some of those acres are corn on corn.

How many acres are we talking, and how are they managed? We’ll have about 360 acres planted at the Farm Progress Show site. During the show, all of that will be harvested by the end of Thursday. We harvest some early for staging, Ride ’n’ Drives and overflow parking. Then we divide up the remainder to harvest during field demonstrations throughout Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

What are the host farmers doing for tillage? It’s a variety of things, and all three host families have different approaches they’re taking with tillage. Acres that are corn on corn had a fall pass. Soybean stubble got a secondary tillage tool. Throughout that 360 acres, there are a variety of different things that set the plate for John Deere to come in and do their work with planting. There are also a variety of nutrients; some acres had anhydrous and some didn’t.

What else will people find at field demos this year? When we talk about field demos, we default to combines, but that’s just the first thing that runs. After the combines run, it creates areas for Ride ’n’ Drives, where you can drive the new Dodge Ram, the new Chevy truck, a Case IH tractor, the Deere tractor. You can get in different cabs of machines. And that’s all in addition to tillage demonstrations and stover harvest baling.

But how about those combines anything new this year? Yes! Agco has a new combine. Willie Vogt [Farm Progress editorial director] saw it at Agritechnica in Europe, and it will make its U.S. debut at the Farm Progress Show. From what I understand, it will be on display and will run in the field demonstrations.  

Hosted by Wallaces Farmer, the Farm Progress Show will be held in Boone, Iowa, Aug. 28-30.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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