Boone hosts 2014 Hay Expo

BOONE – According to Matt Jungmann, manager of the Hay and Forage Expo held June 24-June 26 near Boone, an estimated 2,500 people attended the event during the three-day run.

Tuesday and Wednesday weather was ideal for hay field demonstrations, but Thursday’s weather turned rainy and blustery.

“Thursday was rather rough,” Jungmann said.

Field demonstrations were the center of attention including mowing, windrowing, tedding, raking and baling.

Between demonstrations, attendees perused exhibitor booths and sat in on seminars.

New product

In the main exhibitor tent, a new product, called Hay Cap, was being introduced at the Expo.

Hay Cap is a 6-foot, reusable, long-lasting polyurethane covering, with upward-fanged edges. It’s designed to cover a stack of large square bales.

Designer Phil Snowden, a hay grower from Australia, said he’s been using his product for seven years.

He said he was tired of not getting long use from traditional tarps.

“I just got tired of all the wastage,” he said.

The Hay Cap, he told visitors, best works sitting atop a stack of six bales.

“In a 3-inch rain,” Snowden said, “one cap can shed enough rain to fill a 44-gallon barrel.”

When stacked side-by-side, the flanged edges create a seal, preventing rain from seeping between them, Snowden said.

The sides of the bales are exposed to the elements, he said, but his experience is that as little as an inch or so becomes weathered. The bale interiors are preserved.

Mark Langworth, whose manufacturing firm in Denver, Colo., said, “This is the second year we’ve been marketing Hay Cap in North America and the first time at the Expo.”

John White, and his son, Austin White, both of Morris, Minn., were at the booth and said they were interested in the product.

“I just hope I have a big enough job to give them a call,” John White said.

El Nino cometh

Dr. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State university climatologist, told Expo attendees that “El Nino is developing rapidly. It’s at the doorstep.

“It will be here by July.”

El Nino, which is a problem for crops in other regions of the world, brings predominately more rain and milder temperatures to the U.S. Midwest.

“The last time El Nino was the dominate weather pattern,” Taylor said, “the (Corn Belt) had six consecutive years of record corn yields.”

Taylor said that within the next 10 to 15 years, the U.S. can expect to experience “the harshest winter of the century.”

He said there is a roughly 90-year pattern of record cold and snowy winters. The last two were in 1847 and in 1935.

“And each of those harshest winters,” Taylor said, “were followed immediately by the harshest summers.”