Top-flight hay and forage growers will be in the spotlight at World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, tomorrow – Wednesday – when winners in the 2009 World’s Forage Analysis Superbowl are announced at a noon-time luncheon.

This year’s contest attracted 324 entries from 25 states, reports Dan Undersander, contest organizer and University of Wisconsin extension forage specialist. Entries are up by more than 100 from the 2008 number. “It’s hard to say if weather was a factor in the increase,” says Undersander. “We had both good and bad haymaking conditions all over the country this year.”

Cash awards totaling more than $17,000 will be conferred in six categories: dairy hay, dairy haylage, corn silage (standard), corn silage (BMR), commercial hay and baleage. A grand champion forage producer and top first-time entrant will receive cash awards, too. “We’re also giving two Quality Counts awards this year, one in grass/legume, the other in corn silage,” notes Undersander.

The new quality awards are based on factors other than those used to determine overall rankings in the contest. The award for grass/legume is based on ash content. The range in ash content of the samples entered this year was 9.6-18.2%, with an average of 12.1%. “That’s just about the average stated at labs in the Midwest,” says Undersander. The quality award for corn silage is based on starch availability.

As in past years, winning entries from this year’s Superbowl will be on display at the east end of the Arena Building on the World Dairy Expo grounds throughout the event. The expo ends on Saturday.

World’s Forage Analysis Superbowl managing partners are AgSource Cooperative Services, DairyBusiness Communications, Hay & Forage Grower, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and World Dairy Expo.

Results from this year’s contest will be posted online at immediately following tomorrow’s awards luncheon. We’ll also have more Superbowl news and other news from World Dairy Expo, including coverage of the Forage Toolbox seminars taking place throughout the week, in upcoming editions of eHay Weekly.