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Equipment highlights at World Ag Expo

Progressive Forage Grower Staff Writer Melissa Miller Published on 17 February 2015
Darf’s new hay rake

Once a year the ag world descends on Tulare, California, for the World Ag Expo. The event brings new technology, information and tri-tip sandwiches to the estimated 100,000 attendees.

The expo covers an area roughly equivalent to 58 football fields and contains hundreds of booths. The fair-like atmosphere is added to by the latest and greatest equipment looming like tilt-a-whirls or dinosaurs over the crowds, tempting farmers to visit with sales reps about what these magnificent machines can do to make their work easier, faster and more profitable.

One such machine at this year’s expo was Darf’s new hay rake. With a goose neck hitch for easy fifth-wheel use and arms that can be extended individually for precise turns in tight areas, the folks at Darf were quite willing to chat about it with the passersby.

old tractor

Contrasting with all the latest and greatest equipment that had new paint glinting in the sun, one display seemed destined to remind the viewer of how far the ag industry has come. Rusty red tractors rested peacefully in one back lot, showcasing the cutting-edge technology from the turn of the last century. Amid all the glitz of the new equipment, this quiet, unpretentious display reminded passersby of the time when the newest tractor was more closely related to literal horsepower.

But there wasn’t only big farm equipment at the expo. Quirky technology for the ag industry also included the latest in worker comfort. The Zippkool booth featured pants and jackets with built-in fans nestled right into the fabric on the small of the back and the back of the knee. The battery-operated clothing is designed to cool workers during the hottest months, reducing heat-related illness and increasing comfort.

Zippkool shirt

Representatives of the company strolled the pavilion isles like a dirt-packed catwalk, jackets puffed out from their bodies, artificial breezes sneaking out of sleeves. According to the company, these jackets are doing well overseas, especially in Japan, and they hope to be bringing extra comfort to the American ag industry as well.

World Ag Expo brings people from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. An attendee may be in the pecan business or the hay business. They may be a dairy farmer from just down the road or a producer from the other side of the globe. They may even just be a curious consumer who came to find out a little more about where their food comes from and to collect some free pens. Regardless of each background, everyone from exhibitors to producers could find something to peak their interest at the World Ag Expo.  FG

Photos by Melissa Miller.