Farmers at Hay Expo say they're hoping for more rain
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 08/10/2012 9:54 AM
BOONE, Iowa — Clouds rolled in on the first day of last week's Farm Progress Hay Expo, but no one complained that they brought rain overnight.
The show's second day proceeded pretty much as planned.The event was held at the Central Iowa Expo, just east of Boone, site of the Farm Progress Show Aug. 28-30.
Show organizers said it's the fourth time the Hay Expo has been in central Iowa and the first time in Boone.
Steve and Jordan Voss of Woolstock, who raise corn and soybeans and have a cow/calf operation, said they were just looking.
Tim and Larry Peelen have a row crop operation and hay business at Sanborn. They were checking mowed alfalfa in the machinery demonstration area.
"We'd like to update our mower, and I like that we can see all these mowers in operation and compare them," Tim said.
The Peelens said their hay looks good. They raise dairy quality hay, which they sell to a large dairy located about three miles from their farm.
"The hay is not too bad for no more rain than we've received," said Jeff Ryan of Cresco.
Up until the rain last week, Ryan said his farm received just seven-tenths of an inch in the previous three weeks.
"First crop did fairly well," he said.
Ryan said corn and soybeans look pretty good, but tough spots will show up with hot weather and limited moisture. Ryan, who has a commercial hay business and also raises corn, soybeans and cattle, said what he likes about the Hay Expo is that he can compare machinery side by side and talk to other producers.
Vermeer Corporation introduced its new bale processor, the BPX9000 at the Hay Expo. It was on display with their other hay and forage equipment.
Joe Michaels, director of Vermeer's forage segment, said the company, which has been making bale processors for 30 years, went to their customers and asked what improvements they wanted and then built the machine accordingly.
"Our customers wanted a bale processor that's easier to load, operate and maintain and that can process bales smoothly and consistently," Michaels said. "They also wanted a bale processor that's robust, heavy-duty, reliable and designed to maximize production. Customers said they wanted to process both round and large square bales of varying qualities."
Extension field agronomist Brian Lang said the northeast Iowa hay crop is doing fine but it may be another matter if fields start running out of subsoil moisture.
"I'm mildly surprised at how nice second crop looks," Lang said.
Alfalfa weevils were more of a problem this year because the warm March weather got them off to an early start.
"A number of fields were treated for alfalfa weevil ahead of first crop," Lang said. "There were even a few fields treated on early regrowth following the first crop."
Potato leaf hoppers cause problems every year, but can be even more troublesome in a dry year.
Second-crop alfalfa harvest is underway, and if the state doesn't get timely rain, alfalfa regrowth will starting running out of water.