MACON—Georgia Farm Bureau members who grow Bermuda grass hay are encouraged to enter the 2016 GFB Quality Hay Contest. Hay entered in the contest will be tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and likely animal intake of hay.
Prizes will be presented to the top five producers. The first place winner will receive the free use of a Vermeer 504N baler for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company. The winner will have the option to purchase the baler at a reduced price at the end of the year. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31.
“I’d like to encourage all of our Effingham County Farm Bureau members who are growing Bermuda grass hay this year to consider entering the contest,” said Effingham County Farm Bureau President Stuart Exley. “Each person who enters the contest will receive a copy of the analysis information from the University of Georgia testing lab, which is a great tool for measuring the nutrition quality of your hay and seeing how you may need to make adjustments in your hay production methods to improve the quality of your hay.”
There is a $20 entry fee for each sample entered in the contest to cover the cost of the lab analysis. Applications and instructions for submitting samples are available at the Effingham County Farm Bureau office or may be downloaded at the GFB website www.gfb.org/haycontest.
Rules for entering the contest are:
1. Must be a Georgia Farm Bureau member to enter.
2. Only dry Bermuda grass samples may be entered.
3. Entry forms indicating all contest rules were followed must be completed & signed by contestant.
4. Hay samples must be taken from fields with a minimum maturity or re-growth of at least 25 days to ensure fair competition.
5. Hay samples must have been dried in the field. Hay samples may not have been artificially dried by forced air, fans or in a barn, etc.
6. Fill a one-gallon Ziploc bag with naturally field-dried core samples taken from at least five different bales (rolls or squares) from the same farm, same field and cut under uniform conditions.
7. Forage samples submitted for the contest must be a core sample collected with a hay probe. Contact your county Extension agent for help if needed.
8. Fill a second one-gallon Ziploc bag with whole hay from the same cutting to be used as a display sample.
9. Hay samples with nitrate levels above 4,500 parts per million will be disqualified.
10. Hay samples with moisture content above 18 percent will be disqualified.
Winners will be determined by RFQ analysis. Winners will be announced Dec. 4 during the awards program at the annual GFB Convention on Jekyll Island.
Checks to cover the entry fee should be made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau. Entry fees, forms and samples should be sent to the GFB Commodities Department, 1620 Bass Road Macon, Ga., 31210. Entry fees, forms and samples may also be taken to your county Farm Bureau office.
Because a previous first-place winner has satisfied the intent and purpose of the contest, he/she is not eligible to win any prize category for three years after winning the contest. Previous first place winners may enter their samples for the purpose of having it officially analyzed.
Producers may enter more than one sample in the contest. Any producer submitting more than one sample may only place in the top five with one sample but will receive analysis for all samples submitted.
Contest participants will receive a detailed copy of their hay analysis information and a free listing in the GFB Hay Directory, if they so choose.
Farm Bureau members selling hay are also invited to list their farm in the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Directory. Forms are available at county Farm Bureau offices or may be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/hay411. The directory is only open to GFB members.
Hay producers who don’t enter the GFB Hay Contest should send a check for $10 made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing with their completed form. Forms should be sent to the GFB Commodities Department, 1620 Bass Road Macon, Ga., 31210.
The GFB Hay Directory will be printed in late November. Because this directory is used for the entire year, producers should include normal and projected production of round and square bales they anticipate selling. Directories are distributed to all county Farm Bureau offices, county Extension offices, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, cattle producers, dairy producers, horse owners, directory participants, at the Sunbelt Expo and the annual GFB convention. The directory is also listed on the GFB website http://tinyurl.com/hay411.
For more information contact the Effingham County Farm Bureau office at 912.754.3713 or visit download the directory form at http://tinyurl.com/hay411.
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the largest general farm organization in the state. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors. GFB offers its members a wide variety of benefits, including insurance, but enrollment in any of the member benefits is optional and not a requirement for membership.