The weather this year has been as tough on farm machinery shows as it has been on farmers. Visitors to Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina in June needed to scurry for shelter several times because of intermittent heavy downpours and flashes of lightening. Other events through the summer received the same treatment from Mother Nature.
In August the U.S. Farm Progress Show actually had to close its gates for a while as severe thunder storms worked their way through that area.
And last week Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario, was also clobbered with high winds and heavy rain, which played havoc with displays. In the late afternoon of day two, the clouds moved in. The storm, which even delayed my flight home from nearby Pearson Airport in Toronto, put a damper on the field demos which really give this show its flavour.
That focus on demos allows the Woodstock event to stand out. Its rural setting gives it a big advantage over the other major shows, because it makes those field demos possible. That’s something most Canadian shows can’t accomodate because of the time of year or their urban locations. Situated on the grounds of the University of Guelph, COFS organizers have access to dedicated fields that are seeded and maintained specifically to allow machinery demonstrations during the three public days.
Demos on the first two days went ahead as planned. And there were several of them. One field set up for tillage, had an impressive collection of implements all ready to make a short pass and allow visitors to compare the finished field surfaces they leave behind them. In another, self-propelled forage harvesters went head-to-head in a mature corn stand.
Show organizers also paid some attention to the emerging biomass sector this year. Vermeer had one of its biomass bale processors conducting demos while other manufacturers showed their biomass cutting and baling offerings.
Having the chance to actually get into the field with today’s new equipment is often a rare one for farmers. That’s what makes field demos at shows like this worth the price of admission—if only the weather would cooperate.
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