Unique to the 2014 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show will be harvesting of vegetable crops and the return of tillage as part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension Field Demonstration.
"We have a good assortment of about all the crops that are grown in Portage County," said Matt McDowell and Paul Cieslewicz, co-chairs of the Field Demonstration Committee.
Included are 80 acres of snap beans, 80 acres of sweet corn, 120 acres of potatoes, 10 acres of cabbage, 10 acres of carrots and about 100 acres of alfalfa.
There will be demonstrations around the host farms that feature snap bean, potato, alfalfa and sweet corn harvesting. An off-site tour just to the south near Bancroft will also feature harvesting of cabbage and carrots.
Virtually very aspect of technology that is used in harvesting crops will be in operation, including many that normally aren't seen at other Farm Technology Days shows. This year's event was moved from its normal July time frame to allow for harvesting these crops.
Tillage demonstrations will also be taking place on approximately 120 acres, including 40 acres where potatoes have been dug and 80 acres where peas were harvested. It's also likely that tillage will be done on ground where sweet corn has been harvested.
According to Cieslewicz and McDowell, one of the biggest challenges in planning for the harvesting part of the field demonstrations was the timing of planting to ensure the crops were ready for harvesting during the three days of the show. There are beans and sweet corn with three different planting dates.
Forage demonstrations will take place twice per day. Mowing will start at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and run for one hour, followed by forage chopping at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for an hour each day.
There are scheduled to be 10 mowers from five manufacturers; six mergers and rakes from three manufacturers; four self-propelled and two pull-type forage harvesters from five companies; and truck-mounted and tractor-pulled forage boxes.
Tillage demonstrations have been absent from the show for many years but are back this year. Thirteen tillage implements are scheduled to be used, ranging from discs, chisel discs, ripper discs and vertical tillage implements from nine manufacturers.
Vegetable harvesting and tillage will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
There will be a Ride and Drive area for field sprayers and GPS-guided tractors that can be accessed by a short tram ride and a Ride and Drive area in Tent City with trucks, skid steer loaders and backhoes for folks who'd like to get in the driver's seat and get a feeling of how things work.
New this year will be a demonstration of unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. drones) for use in agriculture in the Ride and Drive area. The capabilities and equipment requirements will be discussed, and there will be flights to demonstrate the technology and what information can be gained from aerial photos and sensors.
Companies that will be involved with field demos include Sand County Equipment, Case IH, John Deere, North American Ag-Gro, Great Plains Mfg, Kuhn-Krause, Landoll, Miller St. Nazianz, Ag Leader Technology, New Holland, Innovative Equipment, Ram Commercial Trucks, Gehl/Manitou Americas, H&S Mfg, Meyer Mfg, Oxbo, RCI Engineering, MacDon, Krone and Claas.