BY BRAD HAIRE
Farm Press Editorial Staff
THE SUNBELT AG EXPO’S 600-acre Darrell Williams Research Farm is a real-working farm that becomes the backdrop to seefirsthand 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 inthe 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 theshow, multiple brands of hay cutters run sideby side, along with tedders, balers and rakes,providing detailed comparison of how eachpiece of equipment performs.
“Over the three days of the Expo, we’llharvest roughly 80 acres of hay and theopportunity to see that many pieces of hayequipment running at once always drawsbig crowds each day,” said Cody Mitchell, theExpo’s farm manager.
Visitors to the field demonstrations willhave the chance to be the first in NorthAmerica to see the new John Deere CP770round-bale cotton picker in action. TheCP770 has the new John Deere PRO16 HSRow Unit, fitted with high-speed stalk lifters and ‘ultra-fast’ cotton-grabbing spindles,and it makes round modules 2% larger and
5% more dense than its predecessor. Onceit collects the cotton, the CP770 can wrapand eject a module in just over 30 seconds.
Almost completely new from the groundup, according to the company, the CP770might appeal to farmers with larger cottonacres or custom harvesters who want tocover the most acres per hour. Roughly 100acres of cotton will be harvested during thethree-day show.
Longtime Expo exhibitor Kelley Manufacturing will be running the latest peanut combine technologies twice each day,harvesting about 60 acres during the show.KMC also has a Stalk Shredder for both cotton and corn.
“Removing cotton stalks the most properand effective way seems to be taking a biginterest in people the last few years, especially for nematode control,” Mitchell said.
The Expo runs a continuous tram system to and from the field demonstrationsall 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 minutesbefore the scheduled in-field demonstration starts.
At the demonstration, visitors are giventime to talk directly with company representatives. The tram station location is at thenorth end of the Expo grounds behind theCASE exhibit area.
“We try to keep a pretty tight scheduleand encourage visitors to get to the tram station as early as they can to make sure theyget a seat on the trams going to the demosthey want to see,” he said.
REAL WORLD CONDITIONS
Mitchell and his crew maintain the Expofarm year-round, and just like any farm, thelocation isn’t immune to environmental conditions: the good, the bad and in between.
This year, it was the wet.
“We had a wonderful planting seasonand had rain when we needed it, which gaveuse wonderful stands. But about two weeksafter we planted our last cotton, whichwould have been in mid-June, we startedgetting rain, and it felt like it rained everysingle day,” he said.
The Expo farm averages three to five inchesof rain in July. This year, the farm received 19inches in July alone. The weather was ‘perfect’for corn, and yield potential was high acrossthe board, but as corn harvest tried to get rolling in early August, the Gulf of Mexico beganthrowing troublesome tropical weather.
“Like all farmers in the area, we need
a good harvest season to get the crop in.
Some fields look good. Some look bad. The
early cotton looks pretty good. It was already
big enough to withstand the rain. The late-
planted cotton struggled from day one. Pea-
nuts look good and certainly better than the
cotton overall,” he said. “We roll with what
the weather gives us, and like we do every
year, we’ll have the field demo site ready to
welcome our visitors.”
Get Ready, "Tram", Go to popular field demos
MAY BE PURCHASED
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