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Hay Expo demos require watching where you stand

This week while Jodie Wehrspahn was testing her mettle on heavy duty construction equipment [5] I was traveling to Waukon, Iowa for the Farm Progress Hay Expo - cosponsored by Hay & Forage Grower [6] our sister publication. It was a chance to see some big equipment hard at work making hay and chopping forages.

One of my roles at the show is to gather as many images - and videos these days - for use in the future for show promotion and in our own coverage. The weather was nearly perfect both days of the show with a gentle breeze both days that kept you cool as temperatures kept rising. Show management kept equipment moving and got every demo completed, so visitors got to see mowers, windrow mergers, forage harvesters (the big self-propelled monsters), rakes, balers and bale-handling tools at work.

Farm safety when that agriculture technology is running is important to show staff. Visitors stay behind a rope that moves across the field as equipment makes a pass (anyone who has ever visited a Farm Progress Show knows this system well). Media, however, can be on the other side of the rope; but we have to be careful.

I like to get up close and personal with the equipment (as the first image shows). That gets you the dramatic stuff we can use in our magazines and online later as needed. Really.

However, if you're getting that close to equipment chances are you're going to be wearing some alfalfa, which is what happened this week when I watched the Vermeer tedder make a pass. It's a big machine and I wanted to get close - but of course once you're on the "business end" of the thing, alfalfa is coming your way.

That second picture is the wave of alfalfa headed for me just as the machine passed. It is NOT the first time I've been bathed in alfalfa from a tedder. It's part of the job.

It's nice to go to a farm show and see equipment run side by side. Hay Expo is known for exhibitors who drive their balers, choppers and more right off the display lot into the field. And this year we got to see plenty at work. You can watch for more coverage over at Hay & Forage Grower [6] soon.