Forage harvesting equipment will be put to test

posted July 2, 2018 8:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Heidi Clausen, Editor |

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MARSHFIELD — The latest trends in forage harvesting will take center stage during field demonstrations at this year’s Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Wood County.

Field demonstrations will include mowing, merging and forage chopping of second-crop haylage from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. each of the show’s three days. The crop will be delivered to storage in bunkers at D&B Sternweis Farm, one of this year’s FTD hosts.

Throughout the show, visitors can catch trams to field demonstrations at the west end of Sixth Street North, beyond Innovation Square and the UW-Extension tent. Trams also will return people to this site.

Major farm manufacturers, including Case IH, John Deere, New Holland and Kuhn, will be on hand. Companies will have several minutes to introduce their equipment before the machinery traverses a 1,000-foot block of field. Afterward, units will be parked and shut off so farmers can walk the field block to inspect the forage. Each run is expected to take about a half-hour.

New this year will be 10- to 15-minute windows of opportunity between demonstrations for the public to get up close to the equipment, which will be situated in the row in which it operated, and talk with company representatives, said Mike Gronski, chairman of the Field Demonstrations Committee and a field agronomist for Pioneer/​Corteva Agriscience.

Early last month, Gronski said the alfalfa in central Wisconsin wintered well, with relatively good snow cover in the area, and the timing of first crop was about right for second cutting to fall at show time.

“We were fortunate spring was a little delayed,” he said. “It should line up well with second cutting.”

Gronski said they planted some grasses with older stands last fall to help meet needs for the big show.

“The younger stands came through (winter) really well,” he said. “Older stands are always dicier, but last year, they were thickened with later-maturing orchardgrass.”

The host farmers intend to keep the alfalfa used for field demonstrations in production after the show.

This year’s Ride and Drive areas, located on the north side and northeast corner of Tent City, will feature several types of skid-steer loaders, wheel loaders and telehandlers. Participating companies will include JCB, Chevrolet Trucks and Ram Trucks. The large-equipment Ride and Drive area will be open during normal show hours and located at the north end of Tent City, near the Heritage Tractor Display.

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