So long AIM — it was another good run

It’s all over now except for the crying, folks. Ag In Motion (AIM) 2017 is history. And really the only crying that might be done, is by the dedicated volunteers and employees of the show who stay on the AIM grounds near Langham, SK for another 10 days to two weeks to clean up and put all the facilities on the 160 acre site to bed for another year.

As I drove out past a storage area last Thursday, I figured a person could do all right just with the contract to haul away (and then cash in) all the beer, pop and water bottle empties. I’ve got to get my name in early for that job next year.

Jeff Just of Yorkton, SK (Just Acre Farms) is one of the show staff members who will be staying around for a few days after the show to wrap things up. Just and his family raise a few purebred Hereford cattle at Yorkton. He joins the setup team about a week before the event and then stays for a few days to help with the clean up and tear down. Any time you get nearly 30,000 people walking through your yard it’s going to need some attention.

Just says it takes a lot of organizing to schedule the move-in by some 400 exhibitors — a few need only a table and a few chairs, while others show up with a few million dollars worth of machinery that’s 80 feet wide.

Free tire gauge almost as good as pen

I may be biased (I did snag a free tire gauge) but it is a very good show. There is always lots to see at events such as Farm Progress Show in Regina and Agri-Trade in Red Deer, for example, but at Ag In Motion you REALLY get to see it. There’s about 100 acres of crop plot demonstrations alone with another large area of field scale equipment demonstrations.

And along with that a person can wander the “streets and avenues” of the central show area. If you’re interested in just about any aspect of crop and livestock production, and farm management there are dozens of information booths, service providers and vendors to answer your questions — show and maybe even sell you a product.

I talked to Merle Hoffman of AIM Industries (no relation to the AIM show) based in Regina and they make one of the best grain bin hopper bottoms in the world. It’s not going to twist or torque or puncture if you have to move it around. Visit aimind.ca.

And if you’re feeding cattle, Jasmine Brodziak with Agrimatics in Saskatoon says her company has developed an excellent controller for the mixer wagon. They earlier developed the Libra controller for grain carts. Now this Libra TMR (total mixed ration) device weighs and measures all beef or dairy ration combinations. Once you get it programmed you can daydream while you’re feeding cattle — it will provide you with the alerts you need. Visit: www.agrimatics.com

Don’t make eye contact

I try not to make eye contact with some of the exhibitors…I could end up buying something. Brent Geransky of Premium Power Packs is a very compelling marketer for a portable power pack that will boost a vehicle battery at least a dozen times before the power pack itself needs to be charged. (God, he was good. He had me at “hello”.)

But wait, there is more. The power pack comes with a number of adaptors so it can also be used to power your laptop and cell phone and it lasts for hours. But wait there is more. And the power pack even has a built in flashlight so you can actually see where you are going and what you are doing if you do need to charge something. And all this power in a convenient, durable case that isn’t much larger than your average paperback novel. But wait, there is more. If you look up the charger on Geransky’s website at www.premiumpowerpacks.com you can even buy one and have it mailed out.

Watch out for the snow cone abusers

Never mind the fact that Dow Agro Sciences has a great line of crop protection products, but if you’re passing their booth next year you can also get a free snow cone and choose from about 40 different flavors. They’ll also sell you a few tonnes of Nexera canola seed if you need it, but the snow cones are free. And you can keep getting back in the snow cone line at least 30 times before they call security and have you escorted out — or so I have been told. Like, anyone would consider that on a 30 C day.

I am always impressed with the cattle handling equipment…this is heavy duty stuff from a number of leading manufacturers. Not only will this equipment not break, but these systems now feature more gates, sliding and hinged panels making it possible to reach any part of the animal without fighting with bars.

And if I ever go into the silage business here is something I need that I had not seen before — a silage fluffer. That’s what the Dairyland Agro guy called it. It’s a large 10 foot wide roller type tool that fits on the front of a larger 500 hp tractor. The roller has a series of knotched fins across and around it — that’s on the front of the tractor. And on the back of this tractor is a row of steel drums for packing (they resemble the wheels on a train). The idea is that after you dump the silage, use the silage spreader (fluffer) on the front to spread it and even it out, and then along comes the big packer tool at the back to pack it all in. It provides up to 40 per cent more compaction. Visit: www.dairylandagro.com

If only I needed it

There was a lot of great stuff at AIM that I don’t really need. Sundog Solar was there with a complete line of solar watering systems (www.sundogsolarwind.com), and Derek Verhelst who has just taken over the Kelln Solar watering business was also demonstrating their long established product line. Verhelst demonstrated a solar powered waterer that’s activated with a motion sensor. As soon as an animal sticks its nose in the trough the water starts bubbling up. Another great idea. Visit www.kellnsolar.com

I have to admit on my final day at Ag In Motion I did eat “The Best Beef In The World”. This was at the Norpac Beef booth. Norpac is a family owned beef producing and meat processing plant in Norwich, ON owned by the Heleniak family. They featured some beef-on-a-bun products. They prefer Limousin and Belgian Blue cattle for their meat program. Everything is corn finished and hormone and antibiotic free.

Animals are processed and the carcasses are shrouded (wrapped with a cloth) and dry aged — more shrink, but better quality, more flavour etc. And their beef on a bun sandwiches were very good. I think Norpac came up with The Best Beef in the World slogan. I haven’t tried all the different beef breeds in the world, so I can’t endorse that claim. I just know that at that moment last Thursday when I sat down for lunch, it was very good beef. Visit: www.norpacbeef.ca

So AIM #3 is in the history books. It’s getting bigger every year. Maybe by July 2018 I will have bought cropland and/or cattle so I can be an official Ag In Motion tire kicker. I’ll have to go back to show anyway, for sure, to ask a few questions. I can’t find the instructions for this tire gauge anywhere.

Lee Hart’s article was originally published on the Grainews Blog.

Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

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Lee Hart is a long-time agricultural writer and contributor to Canadian Cattlemen magazine based in Calgary. Contact him by email at [email protected]

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