And now, for something completely different
The 2023 Manure Expo included a half-dozen new features.
September 26, 2023 by Bree Rody
For the first time since 2015, the North American Manure Expo returned to Wisconsin – the state that started it all.
Approximately 1,000 people arrived at the Arlington Research Station near Madison, WI to witness the Expo. Jerry Clark, regional agriculture educator with UW-Madison and Expo co-chair says the state remains important for the Expo.
“Wisconsin is still home to over a million dairy cows, not to mention all the calves and replacement animals that are raised for the dairy industry,” says Clark. “Around 40 percent of the manure applied in Wisconsin is applied by a custom applicator.” The Expo is unique, he says, because of the unique intersections of people that come together – farmers, industry and agency personnel.
In with the new
This year’s Expo brought back all the classic elements of past Expos – education sessions, spreader demonstrations, agitation demos, tours and, of course, the trade show.
This year’s show also added new elements including a safety event, a barbecue and social hosted by Case IH, and demos showcasing separator and pelletizers, rapid transfers, drag-hose and side-dressing and a hose bridge. Finally, the event was capped off with a high-pressure hose break.
“The industry changes rapidly,” says Clark. “So adding new technology demonstrations was needed to showcase the evolving industry.”
Spotlight on safety
Many of the Expo’s new elements focused on safety.
The first day of the Expo included its first-ever Safety & Operations Knowledge Event. Presented by sponsors GreenField Spreading, Yokohama, Drager, Husky Farm Equipment and Bauer, the event promoted best practices and put safety top-of-mind in the industry. Speakers included Isaac Lemmenes, Walter Grose, Fernando Perez, Ernie Sundstrom and Dave Eisentraut.
Lemmenes, who began his career as an applicator and now works as a product specialist, says he has become more passionate about safety awareness as he looks back on his career.
“As an applicator 10-plus years ago, safety was not taught much, if at all,” he says. “I personally had way to many near misses that, to be honest, should have had much worse end results. Others are no that fortunate. I just want to help others get home every night.”
Husky Farm Equipment owner and ag safety advocate Grose spoke on his specialty of road safety. “We have more people on the road, more people trying to communicate with you regularly,” he explains. “[People] try to work many more hours and longer hours because we have to spread more gallons with less people in less time… Our job is to bring to their attention things that can go wrong.”
Key takeaways from the event:
- Complete regular inspections on all equipment, and keep records;
- Ensure your PPE is adequate and up-to-date;
- Double- and triple-check your potential hazards every time;
- Use buddy systems – especially when a task involves dangerous gases;
- Ensure you are rested and alert.
The Expo concluded with a high-pressure hose break. Onlookers took a seat (from a safe distance) to witness a hose filled with air at 90 pounds per square inch. The pin was then pulled, causing the hose to immediately release all the pent-up pressure in a frenzied display that lasted nearly 25 seconds.
The high-octane demo was exciting, but also served an important purpose: it showed how easily one can be injured (or worse) by a hose.
“I found this demonstration very impactful,” says Clark. “It demonstrated the power and danger of hose application systems and how everyone working with high-pressure manure systems needs to take this equipment seriously.” •