Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) and Vermeer are teaming up again to help Georgia hay producers make a better crop. GFB’s annual Quality Bermudagrass Hay Contest encourages quality hay production, which leads to higher quality livestock and more money for
Georgia hay producers. Vermeer is providing the winner of the 2020 GFB Hay Contest free use of a 604R Baler for one year with the option to purchase it at a reduced price.
A benefit of entering GFB’s hay contest is that it will be tested by the University of Georgia’s Feed & Environmental Water Lab to determine the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) of the hay sample. Producers who submit samples will be able to compare their RFQ to other submitted hay samples. Producers who have their hay tested every year can see improvements they make in managing their hay fields by looking at multi-year analysis.
RFQ is the best method to compare forages. RFQ provides a number that gives producers an idea of how much digestible nutrients their hay contains. Fully mature alfalfa is given a base point of 100. Since the base price for hay sales and auctions in many parts of the world is the value of poor-quality alfalfa, RFQ provides a mechanism for indexing quality to value.
The 2020 GFB Hay Contest winner will receive free of a 604R Baler for one year with the option to purchase it at a reduced price.
Photo courtesy of Vermeer
The RFQ for Bermudagrass in Georgia typically ranges from 75 to 120 or higher. If a hay producer sells based on RFQ, a higher price can be demanded for the higher quality. Livestock producers are more likely to pay these premiums as this hay will yield higher weight gains and require fewer supplements.
With quality in mind, it is a good management practice to test your hay after baling. RFQ and other analytical data can help you manage potential problems with moisture, nitrates or poor digestibility, especially in years with adverse weather.
How to enter
Entry forms outlining the contest rules may be picked up at your county Farm Bureau office or downloaded from the GFB website www.gfb.ag/HayContest.
Jeremy Taylor is an ag programs specialist in the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at 478-474-0679, ext. 5212 or firstname.lastname@example.org .