Everything hay and forage

BOONE, Iowa – It’s not every year that the Hay & Forage Expo is in Boone, Iowa. That’s because the event, which covers everything related to making dry and wet hay for later livestock eating, travels across the Midwest to different...

Several people were taking a closer look at John Deere’s L340 large square baler. The model has an optional 23-knife precutter.

BOONE, Iowa — It's not every year the Hay & Forage Expo is in Boone.

The event, which covers everything related to making dry and wet hay for later livestock eating, travels across the Midwest to different locations annually. Wherever it might be, the event draws hundreds of curious farmers eager to see the latest in harvesting and handling equipment.

This year's event started off with a rainy and then very hot day but closed with fairer weather. Rain the morning of June 22 delayed hay cutting demonstrations, making baling and handling demos no-gos. Rakes and tedders did take their whirl through the field south of the Central Iowa Expo grounds.

Beyond demonstrations, exhibits of the latest equipment, tools and technology were available to check out, including everything from seed to residue management to feeders along with tractors, mowers, balers and the like.

In addition, two educational programs were offered. Philip Stiles, a lawyer who specializes in drone law, spoke about the new rules from the Federal Aviation Administration surrounding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.


Read about the new rules and Stiles' thoughts on the future of drones in next week's Agri News.

This growing season

Elwynn Taylor, meteorologist and climatologist for Iowa State University, gave some insight on the weather.

Iowa has abundant soil moisture, Taylor said. Crops in the state have also been getting ahead on growing degree days since the third week of May. How crops are doing on growing degree days are something, Taylor noted, the markets don't consider. Corn and soybeans are about 200 GDDs ahead of normal, which is a just right amount for the time being. It's considered good if crops are 150 to 250 GDDs ahead before flowering. If they get more ahead than that, they could be heat stressed, Taylor said.

Taylor wants everyone to know their numbers.

If a farmer knows his or her own numbers, they can track trends for themselves and compare to averages for their county and other areas. This is a worthwhile pursuit, even if you have to hire your 12-year-old computer savvy grandchild to do it, Taylor said. If a producer has temperature, precipitation and growing degree days for past growing seasons, he or she can compare those numbers for the yield for each given year.

Tracking current year conditions, the farmer can compare to which year the current one is more trending like and it will give a good sense of what the end result might be, Taylor said.

This year, corn and soybeans are trending similar to 2014 and 2015. On the soybean side, it doesn't matter as much until after flowering.


"If they're still alive the first of August and treated right after that, they'll be fine," Taylor said.

Though there has been some hints of a possible La Niña with some cooling at the Pacific Equator, the cool band has narrowed, leading some to suggest the current El Niño isn't even going away, Taylor said.

While it has been warmer, Taylor does not expect it to stay so hot.

"Expect to stay to trendline unless there is radical change," Taylor said.

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