One of the biggest working farm shows in the country, Husker Harvest Days, continues to add new features and demonstrations to the line-up.
This year the event will be held from Sept. 10-12 in Wood River, Neb., just west of Grand Island.
Celebrating its 36th year, one the newest features to the show will not be seen. A subsurface irrigation system was added this year to irrigate one of the corn fields and a parking lot south of the exhibition area.
It’s the first such system will be used at HHD.
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.
Hundreds of acres will be harvested, showcasing side-by-side field demonstrations that highlight equipment.
Demos include hay harvesting, lawn mowing, strip tillage, corn harvest, stalk shredding, grain drying and precision farming.
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.
One concern that many people have is with the drought, and how dry the land has become.
This year, HHD site manager Roger Luebbe drilled a grass seed mix into the parking lot, and all of the fields at HHD are irrigated.
In addition to the field demonstrations, there will also be stock dog trials, cattle handling demonstrations and wild horse breaking.
There is also a large trade show.
This year there will be more than 600 exhibitors, ranging from all sectors of the agricultural industry.
Sales reps from seed companies, irrigation systems and other areas of crop production will be on hand to answer any questions.
Several crop associations will have booths.
The 2013 Fall Seed Guide and a new wheat production handbook will be provided by the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and the Nebraska Wheat Board.
The Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association will have an educational display that talks about research and promotion efforts that benefit sorghum growers.
The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association will promote the benefits of ethanol.
The Nebraska Soybean Board will be hosting several animal agriculture giveaways to help show the importance of livestock to Nebraska from an economic standpoint.
There will also be exhibitors from the livestock sector as well.
Sales representatives from providers of panels, buildings, fencing, waterers, haying equipment and feeders will also be at the show, as will livestock associations and breed associations.
Natural resource associations and wildlife groups will also be in attendance to teach attendees about programs and answer any questions producers have about wildlife and conservation.
Wildlife Central on mainstreet will host representatives from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever.
The University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources will have a stronger and more diverse presence at this year’s Husker Harvest Days than at any time in the show’s 30-year history. The theme for their exhibit is “Raising your H2O IQ.”
“There is a broad range of exhibits, displays and information for Nebraskans to enjoy and learn from,” said Larry Schulze, IANR Husker Harvest Days coordinator and UNL pesticide education specialist. “In particular, a new adventure awaits Nebraskans this year with UNL’s BIT Mobile, a high-tech, portable computer classroom that travels to educate Nebraskans on e-commerce, e-agriculture and overall e-knowledge.”
Among the issues IANR exhibits and experts will address are weather and crop diseases that have dealt severe challenges to crop producers this year.
Specialists in the mobile diagnostic lab can inspect plant samples and identify disease concerns and the Foundation Seed Division will present the latest in Nebraska wheat research, Schulze said.
UNL’s Veterinary and BioMedical Sciences Department also will have information on melamine in pet food and on animal concerns related to toxic blue-green algae.
Other UNL exhibits focus on livestock health, turf diseases, building Nebraska’s agricultural leadership, noxious weeds, developing Nebraska’s food industry, soybean aphids, new seed varieties, planning healthy meals, using climate information in agricultural decision-making, pesticide safety, economics of agriculture and natural resources, 4-H, antique and quarter-scale tractors and more.
IANR’s “Market Journal” program will deliver live video-streaming online programming from its studio on the showground, next to the Husker Red exhibit building.
One-hour programs will be broadcast twice daily each day of the show, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Topics include crop and livestock marketing and the 2007 federal farm bill.
Potential students and their families can explore enrollment options in IANR’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis and in the UNL School of Natural Resources with faculty and staff at booths at the show.
Information on all IANR courses of study will be available.
IANR faculty and staff have been a part of Husker Harvest Days every year since the first show in 1978.
UNL’s familiar Husker Red exhibit building is located on the south side of the showground at Lot 321.
The university will also be offering nitrate testing of cattle forages at this year’s HHD.
The free rapid testing will be available at the university’s building during the event.
“If you are concerned that drought has damaged crops or other forages and want to know if the nitrate level is too high to feed, UNL extension can address these concerns,” said Matt Luebbe, assistant professor of animal science.
To have forage tested, producers collect a representative sample of the feedstuff(s) they are concerned with and drop off samples. Producers should choose samples that represent the greatest risk level, Luebbe said. The samples can be tested while producers enjoy other exhibits.
“With the rapid test, we can usually determine if high nitrate levels exist within 1-2 minutes. After that we can quantify the amount of nitrates within an hour if the preliminary test is positive,” he said. “If we determine your feedstuffs are high in nitrates, there will be UNL beef extension personnel available to help you to tailor a feeding program that fits your needs and resources available.”
Luebbe added that he does not think many forages will have elevated nitrate levels because the stressors this year are not as widespread as they were in 2012.
Although the tests are not as comprehensive as those done by commercial labs, Luebbe said, results will help feeders decide how to feed these forages, or if additional commercial tests are necessary.
This year HHD will again offer health screening at the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality tent.
Services provided include lung function, cholesterol screening, skin evaluations, hearing tests and blood pressure tests. ❖