Growers in 11 Western states have the opportunity to see how their forages hold up against some of the best in the country – and the chance to win prize money.

The 2012 World Ag Expo Forage Challenge, presented by Mycogen Seeds, challenges farmers and ranchers to enter alfalfa hay, standard corn silage or brown midrib (BMR) corn silage categories. The deadline to enter is Dec. 15.

The contest is held in conjunction with the Feb. 14-16 World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA.

“With today’s high grain prices, it’s more important than ever to produce high-quality forages for dairy rations,” says Greg Cannon, Mycogen Seeds forage product marketing specialist.

“Mycogen Seeds is pleased to support this program to recognize and encourage high-quality forage growers.”

The University of California, Davis, coordinates sample testing and contest judging and educates producers about the benefits of producing high-quality forages, says Dan Putnam, UC Davis forage specialist.

“While high yields are very important for profitable hay and silage production, attaining high quality is a close second,” he says.

“Hay and forage quality has improved substantially over the past 40 years in major dairy regions, where dairy producers and cash hay producers have discovered the impacts of improved forage quality on milk production.”

Up to $18,000 in cash prizes, sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition, will be awarded based on forage lab analyses and a visual evaluation of entries by dairy nutrition and forage production experts.

It costs $25/entry to enter. All forage samples must be submitted to UC Davis for judging by the Dec. 15 deadline.

Entry forms and full contest rules can be found at http://www.worldagexpo.com/General-Info/Forage+Challenge.htm. The winners of the contest will be announced Feb. 14 at World Ag Expo.