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New hay evaluation used at Ozark Empire Fair

Published on 02 August 2017

The 2017 Hay Show at the Ozark Empire Fair (OEF) featured several firsts compared with the 31 previous shows.

Perhaps the most drastic change was to rely solely on laboratory results from Custom Laboratory (Golden City, Missouri) to make the class and championship selections. In the first 31 shows, 40 percent of the index was based on a judge’s subjective rating for purity, condition, aroma and color, while 60 percent of the index came from lab results for relative feed value (RFV).

Researchers have developed a system that more accurately projects the relative forage quality (RFQ) and incorporates energy and protein into the equation, along with neutral detergent fiber. After watching other hay evaluation events in recent years, University of Missouri Extension specialists decided to go with an “all numbers” evaluation, relying on the RFQ to determine placings. RFQ is designed to give fully mature alfalfa an RFQ of 100.

Another move for the OEF was to group all dry hay, whether in conventional, rectangular bales, large rounds or large square bales. Finally, haylage was introduced as a division this year.

After the numbers were crunched, the winner of the dry hay division was long-time hay show participant Gary Thater (Clever, Missouri) with an alfalfa entry that topped the legume class. It was the highest RFQ hay at 239. His hay had 67.6 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN) and protein (CP) at 24.5 percent. The hay was a second cutting (variety Pioneer 54QR04).

Close behind the champion hay was Byron Stine (Clever, Missouri), another veteran hay exhibitor, who picked up the reserve ribbon with an RFQ of 234. In third place in the strong legume class were Glenn and Toni Obermann (Monett, Missouri) with a 227 RFQ.

Kevin Dotson (Billings, Missouri) led the cool-season grasses with both first and second in the eight-entry class. Dotson’s entries were both Kentucky 31 fescue. The top entry scored 136 RFQ and was a first cutting taken on May 4. Second place was a second cutting from a different field harvested on June 14. Its RFQ was 133, and both were put into large round bales weighing close to 1,100 pounds.

Jack Gilliam (La Russell, Missouri) topped the warm-season grass class with a bermuda hay (variety Stampede Plus). Its RFQ was 127. Rounding out the grass-legume class, the Obermanns picked up first and second with alfalfa-orchardgrass entries with RFQs of 187 and 186.

Alfalfa haylage entries from a father-son team, Steve and Jared Kleiboeker (Wentworth, Missouri), easily won that class and were awarded the champion and reserve ribbons. Jared’s entry posted a 171 RFQ, while Steve’s was 160. Both were harvested on April 25 from different fields (the variety on each was Producers Hybrid 9200 RR).

The grass-legume haylage class was a one-entry affair with College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, Missouri) the lone entry with a triticale-crimson clover combo harvested April 8, and it received an RFQ of 118.

Wrapping up the show was a cereal rye (MFA Forage Master), entered by Karl Wilke (Mt. Vernon, Missouri). It had an RFQ of 133, TDN 61.9 percent and protein of 23.9 percent.

The complete hay show booklet with this year’s results along with the historical averages for each year since 1985 is available on the University of Missouri Extension website.  end mark

—From University of Missouri news release