Ag Progress Days to feature crop exhibits, renewable energy and hay contest


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A wide variety of crop management, wildlife and conservation education, as well as the signature hay show, will take place in and around the JD Harrington Crops, Soils and Conservation Building during Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, Aug. 9-11.

Specialists from Penn State and other organizations will be on hand to answer questions about crop production, weed identification, water quality and biofuels. Visitors can ask questions about crop and nutrient management, no-till practices, organic farming and sustainable agriculture, and even bring us for experts to identify.

The 2022 Pennsylvania Hay Show, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, will be held in the Harrington Building, at the end of East Fifth Street, from 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday; 9 am to 7 pm Wednesday; and 9 am to 4 pm Thursday. Hay entries should be dropped off at the special hay sample drop-off point located along the east entrance to Ag Progress Days. The deadline for sample delivery is 10 am on Aug. 9.

Outside the Harrington Building, the Conservation Exhibit Area will include demonstrations supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. With a focus on working farms, NRCS technical staff will feature an active livestock watering system with solar-powered pumps for grazing operations; a scale model manure storage and concrete heavy-use area to address animal concentration areas and manure management; and an interactive soil tunnel to demonstrate soil health. Inside the Harrington Building, the NRCS booth will showcase a cover crop display, soil health demonstrations and a live web soil survey activity.

The Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance will feature rainfall simulator demonstrations showing infiltration at 10 am and 2:30 pm daily.

This year’s new field demonstration will showcase small grain combines and large square balers at 12:30 pm daily. “We have some spring wheat, a species normally not grown in the East, to allow these big machines to run,” said Ron Hoover, senior project associate and coordinator of the On-Farm Research Program with Penn State Extension.

Next to the Harrington Building, at the cover crop plots and planting green demonstrations, Penn State Extension representatives and Pennsylvania seed companies will discuss new cover crop mixtures planted in the plots.

New this year is a walking tour of water wellhead safety. Led by educators from Penn State Extension’s Water Resources Team, this 30-minute tour will spotlight ways to keep well water safe for both people and livestock. The tour will depart daily at 10 am from the entrance of the Harrington Building.

Other tours focusing on stream buffers, livestock pastures, forest management and equine pastures will take place at various times during the three-day event. Buses will leave from the corn crib at the top of Main Street.

A sunflower maze — a new exhibit located adjacent to the Harrington Building — will highlight the national flower of Ukraine. Children and adults can wander the giant maze, which is stroller and wheelchair accessible.

Nearby, presentations on renewable and alternative energy will take place at the American National United Farm Family Learning Center, at Main Street and East Ninth Street. These will include a demonstration of a biogas digester, a solar power display and new information on electric tractors.

Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm Aug. 9; 9 am to 7 pm Aug. 10; and 9 am to 4 pm Aug. 11. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and the event also can be found on Facebook (@AgProgressDays).

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