By JOHN LEIDNER
What a di;erence a year makes! Last year for the first time, Massey Ferguson o;ered some of its best hay equipment as top prizes for the best overall Relative Forage Quality (RFQ).
As a result, the Southeastern Hay Contest, held in conjunction
with the Sunbelt Ag Expo, is now known as the Southeastern Hay
Contest Presented by Massey Ferguson.
This outstanding prize lineup helped draw a whopping 375 hay
samples to make this year’s hay contest one of the largest in the U. S.
That’s almost three times the number of entries the contest had been
receiving in each of its previous 11 years.
With Massey Ferguson’s sponsorship, this year’s grand prize will
include use of a new Massey Ferguson RK Series rotary rake or a DM
Series professional disc mower for the 2017 season, plus a $1,000
cash prize. Additional prizes will be awarded for winners in the nine
categories of hay and baleage. These prizes are $125 for first place
winner in each category, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place.
Winners will be announced Oct. 18, the opening day of the Expo.
The goal of the contest is to highlight the top quality hay and
baleage, or round bale silage, produced by forage growers from
Southeast states. The contest also showcases the management practices, technology, and equipment used by the region’s top forage
Farmers entering the contest are also invited to list their hay for
sale in the Southeastern Hay Directory that is maintained by the University of Georgia’s Feed and Environmental
Water Laboratory. Links to the directory are
provided by state forage websites and the
website for the Southeastern Hay Contest.
As in past years, hay entries will be judged
using near infrared reflectance testing pro-
cedures by the Georgia Feed and Environmental Lab. Entries will
be ranked using Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), which accounts for
protein, energy, and fiber digestibility. If necessary, ties in RFQ scores
will be determined on the basis of a visual evaluation of hay samples
by Extension forage specialists from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and
RFQ is a measure of forage quality that is used to predict the fiber
digestibility and animal intake of harvested forages. RFQ was developed by the University of Florida and the University of Wisconsin,
and over the years has been adapted to measure forage quality in
bermudagrass and other warm season grasses grown for hay in the
RFQ is a standard measure that can accurately convey the nutritional quality of harvested forage. For instance, it can help both sellers and buyers of hay to get a good indication of its feed value. As a
marketing tool, RFQ can be used to identify premium, good, and fair
quality hay. RFQ can help determine if hay is good for various uses.
As an example, hay with a low RFQ might be used to maintain
dry cows, while hay with a medium RFQ might be used for feeding
stocker cattle or young replacement heifers. Hay with a high RFQ
score would be adequate for dairy cows during early lactation.
HIGHEST QUALITY EVER
Results from the 2015 contest showed average overall hay quality,
as measured by RFQ, the highest ever in the 11-year history of the
Visitors attending this year’s Sunbelt Expo will be able to see
2016’s winning hay samples on display in the Bill Patten Cattle Pa-
vilion (location E- 8).
Other major sponsors for this year’s hay contest include R. W. Griffin Industries LLC and its 19E Low-Cost Solution fertilizer product;
America’s Alfalfa forage seed company; Georgia Twine; Inland Tarp &
Liner; Athens Seed Co.; Silo-King with its treatment products for hay
and haylage; and AGCO Parts HayBoss G2, featuring add-on equipment for applying hay preservatives and identifying bales.
2015 PRIZE WINNERS
The top prize for the overall highest RFQ in 2015 was awarded to a
sample of alfalfa hay submitted by McGee Ranch of Idalou, Texas.
The sample had 29 percent crude protein, a TDN of 74. 7, and an RFQ
percent of greater than 300.
The alfalfa category had 31 entries last year. Second place alfalfa
went to Steve Mitchell, Mountainside Farm, Taylorsville, N.C., and
third place to Daryl Manning, Gamble Farm, Summerville, Ga. The average RFQ of the entries in the alfalfa hay category was 213 percent.
The warm season perennial grass hay category had 144 entries
last year. First place went to Yon Family Farms, Ridge Spring, S.C.,
with a 161 percent RFQ score. Their winning hay sample also tested
19. 2 percent crude protein and 64. 6 for total digestible nutrients. Yon
Family Farms also won second place in the warm season perennial
grass category, and third place in the grass baleage category, and
placed first, second, and third place in the legume baleage category,
which had a total of 12 categories.
The perennial peanut hay category only had five entries last year.
Winner was Justin Williams, Graceville, Fla., with an RFQ score of 179
percent, a crude protein content of 14.1 percent, and a TDN of 67.
Other winners in this category included Basford Farms, Grand Ridge,
Fla., placing second, and Farrell Roberts, Tifton, Ga., third place. The
average RFQ for entries in the perennial peanut hay category was
James Burton, LaFayette, Ga., won the cool season perennial
grass hay category with a hay sample that tested 150 percent in RFQ,
17. 4 percent crude protein, and 63. 6 for TDN. The cool season perennial grass category had a total of 25 entries and an average RFQ of
119 percent. Other winners included Dustin Braswell, Danielsville,
Ga., second place, and Oak Ridge Ranch, Dahlonega, Ga., third place.
There were a total of 74 entries in the mixed, annual grass, or
other hay category. Winner was Bill Grubb, Comer, Ga., with an RFQ
score of 172 percent, 20. 9 percent crude protein, and 69. 5 TDN. Kyle
Knight, Sandbriar Farms, Sylvania, Ga., placed second and Jim Patton, Comer, Ga., was third. The average RFQ score for this category
was 119 percent.
With 84 entries, the grass baleage category was won by Walters
Farm, Barnesville, Ga., with an RFQ of 211 percent, crude protein of
23. 2 percent, and TDN of 72. 70. Walters Farm also placed second, and
Yon Family Farms placed third. The average RFQ was 144 percent.
There were 12 entries in the legume baleage category, with the
top three entries being submitted by Yon Family Farms. The first
place sample tested 239 percent for RFQ, 25. 5 percent for crude
protein, and 74.0 for TDN. The average RFQ for the legume baleage
category was 177 percent.
Growers’ best hay on display at Expo
84 Sunbelt Expo 2016 Farm Press