Positive attitudes highlight Farm Progress Show
BOONE, Iowa — For the first time in four years, farmers descended on Iowa’s version of the Farm Progress Show.
The annual three-day agricultural expo made its return to Boone this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers were feeling good about being back in Iowa despite the ongoing dry conditions throughout the state.
“I think everyone’s been pretty positive,” said Jack Boyer, farmer from Reinbeck, Iowa. “We are very aware of the drought, but when you have a little (high) price in the commodity market, people are positive, despite what some are expecting to harvest this year.”
That positivity was felt by Wyffels agronomist Eric Wilson, who covers the southern and northeast Iowa regions. He said despite some issues, particularly in southern Iowa, farmers are maintaining that upbeat attitude.
“We were late planted, especially in the south,” he said. “Then we had the drought and it has accelerated everything. They are probably going to be geared up to get harvest sooner than later to avoid stalk integrity issues. People are surprisingly positive, especially areas that have been just pummeled with no rain.”
New equipment and technology were among some of the most featured aspects of the show this year, and it was an opportunity for brands to learn what farmers are looking for in the field. That can drive research for future innovations, said Greg Christiansen, manager of marketing for the five-series utility tractors with John Deere. The company was featuring a new engine in some John Deere tractors.
“We put in a no-regen engine,” Christiansen said. “You had to go through a regen process if you went to low RPMs for a long time, but with this model you don’t have to do that anymore. It just burns off the particulate as you use it. You won’t have to stop working for a bit with this new model.”
John Deere also partnered with beer company Busch Light for a fundraising event with Farm Rescue, a non-profit organization that helps farmers keep their operations going when a crisis such as injury, illness or natural disaster strikes.
“We have had many people come up to us and say they want to be a volunteer due to this event,” said Lynne Hinrichson, the Farm Rescue development officer in the Corn Belt. “The support we are seeing goes beyond the monetary factors to keep our mission going.”
There were multiple demonstrations of equipment, including drones, autonomous tractors and a new aerial ATV from Ryse Aero Technologies that had many farmers in attendance.
The machine is a single-person vehicle that can fly over fields, doesn’t require a pilot’s license, and may become available within a few years.
“We’ll start in 2023 with 100 machines that will mostly be hand-built,” said Ryse CEO Mick Kowitz. “Our goal is to build 1,000 in 2024.”
While that technology may help in the future, there are new items that will help farmers in their fields as soon as the 2023 planting season. Andrew Feucht, product marketing specialist with Precision Planting, said emergence has been one of the focuses for the companies. He said the excitement among farmers has been evident.
“Farmers have been pretty positive and a lot are just looking for a chance to look at some technology they’ve been considering,” Feucht said. “It’s been a great show so far and planting to spraying have been popular topics.”
Feucht said the company is also trying to emphasize the importance of getting the right input rates on a field and not over-applying certain nutrients or herbicides. Every field is different and testing is always important, he said.