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Barry Schrader
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I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Goodies harvested from farm show

By Barry Schrader.................................January 18, 2011

Wandering the halls last week of the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University, which was filled with exhibitors and farmers exchanging pleasantries at the 29th annual Northern Illinois Farm Show, was an uplifting experience during the winter doldrums.
The good news this year is that the 2010 summer growing season was one of the best in a decade, and everyone seemed upbeat about the future.
Looking for a quotable comment, I stopped Wednesday at the morning presentation by Jim McCormick of Allendale, a commodity research advisory firm whose topic was market analysis. Talking about weather predictions, he did not quote the “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” but did take exception to a prediction made by an Iowa State ag meteorologist, S. Elwynn Taylor.

Audrey Payne, 3, and her mother, Judy, from Monroe Center take a look at a sprayer machine last week at the Northern Illinois Farm Show, which was held at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center. (Barry Schrader photo)


Asked about the prediction of a drought apparently made by Taylor, which he based on a cycle of tree rings going back 800 years, McCormick quipped: “Have you ever seen an 800-year-old tree in Iowa?” So that is my favorite quote for this year.
I can’t resist the freebies offered at many booths, so I filled my gadget bag with a couple of dozen. My favorite was a telescoping wand about 24 inches long that looked like a screwdriver, only it has a small magnet at the tip. Just the thing for an aging columnist who drops paper clips on the floor. So thanks to O’Reilly Auto Parts for that useful tool. I had to spin the wheel at the NAPA Auto Parts exhibit and came away with a nice wall thermometer. I also collected a yardstick from Country Financial, a rain gauge from Alpine Bank and a weekly memo calendar from Hintzsche’s booth.
Moving on to the bigger equipment at the show, I asked my wife’s niece, Lynn Martz, to show me the latest technology and big-ticket items. She took me to the Sukup Manufacturing booth to look at the mammoth corn dryers and some other booths where giant sprayers were displayed. I asked her to find me the most expensive mechanical monster on display at the show, and she pointed out the 2011 Apache sprayer. So I asked the Illini Sprayer Company rep for some details. The Apache on display weighed about 18,500 pounds, has a 100-gallon diesel fuel tank, a 1,000-gallon tank for the liquid chemicals and a 90-foot set of sprayer arms to cover lots of rows at one time. Top road speed is 35 mph, but I doubt if they run them at full speed very often. Now for the price tag: $185,000, give or take a few thousand. Back in my father’s day, that amount could buy you one fine farm.
I mentioned to Lynn that I missed seeing the big combines, and she explained the Convo Center doesn’t have large enough overhead doors to accommodate such equipment. But I must repeat my suggestion to the show producers again this year: It would be nice to see some 1940s and ‘50s farm tractors such as those in Dick Fowler’s collection by Genoa. They are smaller than the pickups I saw and would easily fit through the doors. A green one, a red one and even an orange one would add some color to the show. For those not acquainted with tractor models, green is for John Deere, red could be a Farmall and orange an Allis-Chalmers for example. But a real showstopper would be Kelly Zachary parading her blazing pink 1945 Case tractor around the aisles.


Now back to last week’s column. Jo-Anne Naples e-mailed me to point out another Popcorn-Er stand owner, Allyn Davenport, who ran it for four years after Denes Stellatos, who records show owned it from 1986 to 1997. In talking with Davenport, I learned he also served on the DeKalb City Council for 10 years and now operates a cleaning-service business.

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

barry815sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115