The December Alfalfa, Forage & Grains Symposium attracted well over 400 growers and industry members who were able to choose from more than 30 speakers at the DoubleTree in Sacramento. Sponsored by the University of California, the event added a twist with the addition of grains, along with the usual exhibit area.

The exhibits of products and services ranged from well known seed and irrigation companies to new exhibitors, including Certa-Set, and Kemin Industries with headquarters in Iowa and offices in 90 countries. Both companies had some interesting information to show at their table at the exhibit area.

The Certa-Set system from CertainTeed is a leak-free irrigation piping system that’s getting more attention from alfalfa growers. Its sled-coupling eliminates leaking and less water is needed, and of course, that has become even more important in recent years. When I stopped at the companies’ table it was interesting to watch the monitor. A guide placed on a swather lifted the polyvinyl chloride piping and the harvester was able to do its job without moving pipeline.

In November a Certa-Set ad in CAFA News pointed out a number of things to consider, such as irrigating alfalfa without borders. What I didn’t realize until I visited at the symposium table were the inroads that have already been made with vegetables and other commodities.     

It will be interesting at the next symposium to see how the 2013 season turns out for Certa-Set, as well as Kemin Industries. The company started in 1961 and now manufactures over 500 specialty ingredients for feed, food industries and other markets. Kemin manufactures nutritional ingredients and products, including microbial inoculants and acid-based stabilizers for hay, silage, haylage, total mixed rations and processed grains. Last year’s season started with bad weather for many growers and there was significant interest in improving fresh cut hay and viable hay production.