Entries in the 2007 Southeastern Hay Contest increased by 25% despite a severe drought that plagued the Southeast this year. At least 255 entries from across the region vied for first place in several categories. Average nutrient content of submitted samples also increased over previous years, says Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia extension forage specialist. The average relative forage quality (RFQ) over all submitted samples was 118. The contest is held in conjunction with the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, GA.

"The results from this contest show we truly can produce forage of superior quality in the Southeast," says Hancock. "This competition has continued to set the high-water mark for hay producers in the Southeast and we firmly believe this rising tide raises all boats."

Rusty Bean, Gray, GA, won the warm-season perennial grass hay category with a coastal bermudagrass sample testing 18.2% crude protein (CP), 64.5% total digestible nutrients (TDN) and 149 RFQ. Wayne Hurley, Chattooga County, GA, claimed second place; David Buffamoyer, Anderson County, SC, came in third.

Mark Vickers, Ambrose, GA, entered some exceptionaly high-quality alfalfa, taking first and second places in the perennial peanut/alfalfa hay category. His first-place entry tested 18.3% CP, 69.9% TDN and 237 RFQ. William Schultz, Kearny County, KS, finished third.

Richard Matthews, Winder, GA, placed first in the cool-season perennial grass hay division. His entry tested 16.6% CP, 64.8% TDN and 157 RFQ. Rod Nowland, Calhoun County, AL, took second; Ken Smith, Banks County, GA, took third.

Troy Platt, Madison, FL, won three categories: He placed first in mixed and annual grass hay and in legume baleage, and swept all three places in the grass baleage category. David Harden, Walker County, GA, and Charles Floyd, Monroe County, GA, took second and third place, respectively, in mixed annual grass hay. Jonny Harris, Wayne County, GA, won second and third in grass baleage.

Learn more about the contest, or print an entry form for next year's contest, at www.georgiaforages.com. Call Hancock at 706-542-1529.