Even though farmers faced real challenges this year in finding a window of opportunity to harvest quality forage, the laboratory results show it was possible for some to make amazing hay and haylage, especially for a few farmers taking part in recent the Ozark Empire Fair hay show.
The 2020 Ozark Empire Fair hay show attracted 40 entries made up of an interesting mixture of dry hay and haylages.
Happy with haylage production
Groves View Dairy, Billings, Mo., topped the alfalfa haylage category by scoring a relative forage quality of 276. The alfalfa variety was WL 357, cut April 19. It scored 75.6% on total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 0.79 on net energy lactation (NEL) with 19.7% crude protein (CP).
The 276 RFQ was one of the highest recorded at the Ozark Empire Fair hay show. Groves View entered a second alfalfa haylage — same variety, different field — that had an RFQ of 264. Those two were named champion and reserve champion in the haylage division of the show.
Other class winners in the haylage division competition were Fire Sweep Ranch, Verona, Mo., which had a fescue with a RFQ of 107. Jerry Staiger of Billings, Mo., entered an alfalfa-orchardgrass third cutting that scored 195, and Moennig Dairy from Pierce City, Mo., topped the annual grass competition with wheat haylage that scored 132 RFQ.
Dry hay results
The competition in the dry hay division was equally stiff. The champion came from the legume class entered by Glenn and Toni Obermann, Monett, Mo. The entry was a fourth cutting of alfalfa, Pioneer Low Lignin variety, with a RFQ of 221, TDN at 68.19% and CP of 23.2%. The Obermanns have had the champion hay in six of the past 11 years.
Other class winners included: cool-season grass, Fire Sweep Ranch, RFQ 124; warm-season grass, Lindell Mitchell, Seligman Bermuda with a 124 RFQ; grass-legume mix, Glenn and Toni Obermann, RFQ 160.
Contest rules and regulations
This was the 35th Ozark Empire Fair hay show, which is coordinated by University of Missouri Extension. All hay samples are collected by Extension field specialists and analyzed through Custom Laboratory, Monett. All entries must be raised in Missouri and harvested in 2020.
Placings are solely based on the RFQ numbers, which include TDN and neutral detergent fiber. The latter helps estimate dry matter intake. A 100 RFQ is designed to be equivalent to fully mature alfalfa.
Extension has prepared a booklet that gives details of all 40 test results, as well as a historical review of the various classes of hay and averages dating back to 1985.
The booklets and the champion hay and haylage will be on display in the FFA building at the fair. Contact your nearest MU Extension office for a booklet or how to get a copy online.