Farm Press Editorial Staff
THE SUNBELT AG EXPO’S 600-acre
Darrell Williams Research Farm attracts
top agricultural researchers and industry
innovators, but during the show the real-working farm also becomes the backdrop to
see how the region’s top crops are harvested
and handled in the fall.
The Expo’s forage demonstration grounds,
for example, are considered one of the best in
the region, where University of Georgia forage
specialists conduct research and trainings to
improve hay production and growers’ bottom
lines. On each of the three days of the show,
eight to 10 different brands of hay cutters run
side by side, along with 8 to 10 tedders, balers
and rakes, providing detailed comparison of
how each piece of equipment performs.
“Over the three days of the Expo, we’ll
harvest roughly 80 acres of hay and seeing
that many pieces of hay equipment running
at once is something to see, and always draws
big crowds,” said Cody Mitchell, Expo’s farm
John Deere will once again have its
popular roller picker working, and during the
Expo roughly 80 acres to 100 acres of cotton
will be harvested. Cotton harvest will take
place twice a day, each day.
Longtime Expo exhibitor Kelley
Manufacturing will be running the latest
peanut combine technologies twice each day,
harvesting about 40 acres during the show.
KMC will also run twice each day its Cotton
Stalk Shredder in both cotton and corn.
Pottinger Harrow and Lenox Farm
Machinery will run their cotton stalk shredder
also each day of the show.
“Removing cotton stalks in the most
effective way seems to be of great interest to
farmers in the last few years. We are excited
to have a variety of different tillage tools
at Expo this year that farmers from all over
the Southeast can take a look at in the field,”
The Expo runs a continuous tram system
to and from the field demonstrations all three
days of the show. Look in this program guide
for the exact times of the demonstrations you
want to see.
Trams depart 10 minutes to 15 minutes
before the scheduled in-field demonstration
starts. At the demonstration, visitors are
given time to talk directly with company
representatives. The tram station location is
at the north end of the Expo grounds behind
the CASE exhibit area.
REAL WORLD CONDITIONS
Mitchell and his crew maintain the Expo farm
year-round, and just like any farm, the location
isn’t immune to environmental conditions:
the good, the bad and in between.
Corn planting this year started extremely
wet for the area. Right after Mitchell planted
half of the Expo’s corn, it rained four inches
in one day. Temperatures then dropped 10
degrees off normal for two weeks, dropping
“Wet cold dirt isn’t the way you want to
start off a growing year. April was more of a
normal month, but May was rough. We got
three-quarters of an inch of rain in all of May,
and that came in the first week. We set record
temps in May. That and no rain makes it tough
to get a good stand on cotton and peanuts
and its rough on the corn crop as it readies for
pollination,” he said.
The entire region is hoping for a better
harvest this year. Last year’s season was terribly
marred by Hurricane Michael. “It seems we
have as good or even a better crop as we did
last year. We just need good weather to get it
out of the field. As we all know, all farmers need
a good year this year,” he said.
FOCUS ON THE FARM
Catch the action at popular field demos
Farm Press Editorial Staff
CODY MITCHELL stepped off the cotton
planter for a moment to scan over the iPad
in the field and talk with Jason Pittman.
Mitchell manages the Sunbelt Ag Expo
Darrell Williams Research Farm in Moultrie,
Ga., and Pittman is the Bayer district sales
manager for southwest Georgia and parts of
north Florida. They took a minute out of a busy
planting schedule to look at FieldView, the data
collection and analysis platform developed by
The Climate Corp., now part of Bayer.
“We worry about harvesting and yield
data, but it starts with Step 1: planting right.
We use FieldView from planting all the way
through the process to harvest. It lets us know
if we are planting too high or too low, and
then later you can plug in your spraying and
stay on rate, and then when it comes time for
the harvest to make the money, it helps track
what you’re doing then,” Mitchell said.
With numerous trials containing
hundreds of plots to collect data from
annually, the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm draws
University of Georgia scientists and industry
representatives alike to conduct field tests
large and small.
“FieldView helps me stay organized. It
maps everything by color; each variety that
I put in, for example, I can click on my iPad, it
shows me exactly where in the field I am at.
It keeps me on track,” Mitchell said.
Pittman says the platform can marry
together data collection tools from other
brands, with the capacity to place multiple
pieces of equipment into one program.
“At the end of the season, a farmer can look
Sunbelt Expo farm collects the data to keep it all on track
at his planting data, pull summaries by hybrid
or by soil type, and make selections on what
he should plant next year based on yield,”
Pittman said. “Basically, it allows the farmer
to keep everything he’s doing in one site, but
it also, if he wants, he can turn his whole farm
into one big test plot. Anything new he tries,
he can keep up with it.”
Pittman said some farmers are still hesitant
on big data collection or on embracing newer
data collecting platforms, “but the growers
that have started using it realize the value and
they see what they’ve been missing. And so,
they’re starting to embrace it more and more.
Many times I’ve had guys that just want to try
it on their sprayer. They see how well it works
there and then want to try on their planter
and the next thing you know, they are willing
to map everything they are doing.”
Pittman, along with other industry
representatives across the row crop board,
participated in the Sunbelt Ag Expo Field
Day July 25 on the Expo farm in Moultrie,
Ga., to discuss FieldView and other products
and varieties Southeast growers can tailor to
Cody Mitchell, left, the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm
manager, discusses on-farm data collection with
Jason Pittman, the Bayer district sales manager for
southwest Georgia and parts of north Florida.