9/8/2012 7:00 AM
By Carolyn N. Moyer Northern Pa. Correspondent
KNOXVILLE, Pa. — Karl Kroeck farms about 1,000 acres in northwestern Tioga County, planting 500 acres of corn, 200 acres of soybeans, 150 acres of wheat and harvesting hay.
Kevin Houghtaling operates Houghtaling’s Equipment just south of Kroeck’s farm. Each has been active in holding field days for many years.
“Several years ago, Karl and I got together,” Houghtaling said. “He called me and said that he had planned a Pioneer field day at the same time and day as I had scheduled my hay day and we’re only a few miles apart. So we got together.
“It works out because he sends notices to his customers and I send to mine, and we share the cost of the day,” Houghtaling said.
“Basically it’s an appreciation day for our seed customers and to help (Houghtaling) with his field day,” Kroeck said. “Farmers just love to get together and talk and eat.”
He estimated that about 250 people attended the Aug. 30 event, devouring 25 sheet pizzas and 70 dozen wings.
This year, attendance was above average, according to Houghtaling.
The morning session included presentations from Extension educators Mark Madden and Nicole Santangelo, offering pesticide applicator credits.
Madden focused on several common pests that were prevalent in the area this year and what steps can be taken to manage them.
Drawing on information compiled by John Tooker, Pennsylvania state entomologist, Madden spoke about slugs, armyworms and leafhoppers.
“All three of these pests are easily managed,” he said, stressing that that the treatment for the pests is inexpensive and readily available.
“They are very easy problems to scout for and react to, but you’ve got to get out of the truck or off the tractor,” Madden said.
Santangelo talked about the selection, use and care of respiratory protective devices. She emphasized the difference between particulate masks and vapor masks, and urged farmers to read the labels before selecting a mask.
“Choose the right mask for the right job, fit the mask to your face, and tighten and adjust as needed,” she said.
Santangelo also reminded farmers that the respirator is not working properly if you can smell the chemicals or if breathing is difficult.
As she passed around examples of inexpensive yet effective respirators, she called attention to the care of the devices.
After each use, the devices should be washed, sanitized and allowed to dry before storage in an air-tight container.
“It’s not a big investment for the safety factor,” Santangelo said.
Also speaking were representatives from Pioneer, Gehl, the No-Till Alliance and Lancaster Farming newspaper.
A parade of skid steers, bale wagons, rakes, tedders and discbines, sponsored by Houghtaling’s, gave farmers a chance to observe new features and hear helpful hints for operation.
Representatives from Binkley & Hurst used Kroeck’s Kinze 12-row no-till planter as a backdrop for a presentation on corn crop management.
“The time to be scouting fields is 10 days after planting,” Chad Burkholder said.
He also said that farmers should work together with seed representatives, industry personnel and machinery dealers to get the best results.