Hay Farmer of the Year
Jimmy Alday won the 2012 Hay Farmer of the Year at the Annual Farm City Day Breakfast. This award is based on standardized quality testing of samples entered into the Southeastern Hay Contest from Jackson County.
Jimmy also has carried forward the love of farming. His father farmed land on what is now the Georgia Lake Seminole State Park. For many years, Jimmy owned and operated Sneads Pharmacy to help pay for his true love of farming. He bought his farm in 1980, where started out growing row crops. In 1995 he transitioned his operation over to cattle and hay. He is retired from the Pharmacy business now, so he can put his full attention into his farm and family.
Jimmy grows 25 acres of Alicia Bermuda and Bahia grass hay, to feed his herd through the winter and provide a little income to offset his hay expenses. While his hay operation is not large, he likes it small because he can manage it well and only produce top quality grass hay. He can get his hay harvested in a timely manner when it is ready, and when the weather is right.
This year Jimmy sent in a sample of his Alicia Bermudagrass hay to the Southeastern Hay Contest that was analyzed for quality at the University of Georgia Feed and Environmental Water Lab. Jimmy’s sample had 15.6% crude protein and 50.3% Total Digestible Nutrients or TDN on a dry-matter basis. The hay had a Relative Forage Quality or RFQ index of 92.1. An RFQ index of 100 is equal to mature, or low quality alfalfa hay. RFQ is a single number index that takes into account the protein, energy, fiber and digestibility of the hay.
Annually testing his hay has truly helped Jimmy better manage the nutrition of his herd. Knowing the feed value of his hay has helped him select his supplements to ensure the productivity of his herd. The quality data has also helped him develop a loyal customer base for the hay he sells, because he can prove he does have an excellent product. Hay sampling has been such a valuable tool that he has even purchased his own sampling tools for moisture and lab testing.