Hay production is a major crop in Suwannee County. Tuesday October 17th, 2023, two of our outstanding hay producers were recognized at the 2023 Sunbelt Ag Expo for their submission of hay samples into the Southeastern Hay Contest. Doug Carter placed 1st in the Legume-Grass Mix Hay category and the Darling Family Placed 1st in the Perennial Peanut Hay category. These producers work hard to produce high quality hay and their efforts did not go unrecognized with the hay contest.
The hay contest is open to producers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma east of I-35, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas east of I-35, or Virginia. The cost to submit is $22 and must be submitted by your extension agent. Samples are judged using NIR testing procedures by the University of Georgia Feed and Environmental Water Lab. The entries are ranked based on Relative Forage Quality (RFQ).
Why should you submit your sample, you may ask. Forage quality is an important factor in hay production and testing provides a useful tool to learn more about the nutritional value of your forage. The contest allows you to receive data on your hay sample as well as be entered to win cash prizes and the potential to win the use of hay equipment if your sample is the overall champion. The data collected from the samples can help you to value your hay. Forages are a major asset to livestock operations and the foundation of most rations. If you are using the hay yourself, having information about the quality of the hay can help in reducing cost of forages and optimize nutrients provided to livestock.
If you are interested in having your forages sampled please contact the UF/IFAS Suwannee County Livestock and Forage Agent, Erin Jones at 386-362-2771.