Story by Robyn Scherer, M.Agr.
Staff Reporter

Photos Courtesy of Husker Harvest Days

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September 1, 2012
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Husker Harvest Days Unveils New Features

Husker Harvest Days is a unique, working farm show. Throughout the three-day event attendees can watch a variety of field demonstrations, be introduced to new equipment and technology, and receive updated information on their crops.

This year the event will be held from Sept. 11-13 in Wood River, Neb., just West of Grand Island.

“We have a lot of educational things here. We have over 600 exhibitors, and 100 participate in the side-by-side field demonstrations. Everyone else has something going on at their lot as well. It’s a good place to buy some equipment. It’s a one stop shop,” said Roger Luebee, Operations Manager for Husker Harvest Days.

In the past, attendees have come from 28 states and several countries to view the demonstrations. They are treated to a show that is held on 1,000 acres of former U.S. Army Ordinance land. The show was started in 1978.

The most popular demo is the corn combining demo, which will be held from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. each day of the show. “People like to see those big machines. The side-by-side field demonstrations are what really makes this show a success,” he said.

This year there will be a new combine that is introduced, and attendees will get to see how this combine works in action. “Anytime anyone introduces new machinery, there is interest in that. The mapping and technology that is in the cab is also a big interest. That’s where you get the results from everything, and make plans for what you are going to do next year,” said Luebee.

Usually, the corn that is harvested at Husker Harvest Days is the first in the state to be combined. However, this year that may not be the case. “I’m sure there will be people harvesting before we start, and will need to park their machines to come see us. Usually it doesn’t happen. Usually we are the first ones in the field, but this year everything is at least two weeks early,” he said.

He continued, “Everything is irrigated here, so we are looking at a pretty decent crop and we have high prices. The crops weren’t hurt so much by the drought, but by the heat. That did more damage. We can make our own rain anytime we want. Our groundwater was adequate, but we need moisture this winter to replenish the water level. People that are in areas where they don’t irrigate and the ranchers, it’s a different story.”

One concern that many people have is with the drought, and how dry the land has become. Hot cars on dry grass can be a concern.

“Everything we have out here is irrigated. Even the 80-acre parking lot is irrigated. It’s kind of nice this year to have it irrigated not only for the grass, but also for the safety of the lot. Parking cars on dry grass is an accident waiting to happen,” Leubee said.

The fire danger is what also may keep farmers and ranchers home. “There are a lot of ranchers who do not want to leave because of the fire danger. A nice rain would help that, but the forecast doesn’t look so good. The farmers want to stay home and protect their ranches,” he said.

He added, “They very seldom leave their ranch or their homestead without someone there to listen to the scanners and various fire alerts. This drought is serious.”

Leubee encourages farmers and ranchers in this situation to leave someone at home, but to still attend the show if they can. “We have a lot of good information and new equipment they may be interested in,” he said.

In addition to the field demonstrations, there will also be stock dog trials, cattle handling demonstrations and wild horse breaking. “There are all sorts of things that go on besides the big equipment,” Leubee said.

This year the show does have one new feature, and that is a set of four live webcams. “People can get on the internet and see the preparations. They can watch the irrigation, and watch us trim the fields. There are a lot of people who aren’t familiar with irrigation and they can see it live. We will keep it on at least for a few days after the show as well,” he said. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Sep 4, 2012 06:30AM Published Sep 17, 2012 09:24AM Copyright 2012 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.