Donn Randall lists the high elevation, dry climate and cool nights of Wyoming’s main hay-production areas as key reasons growers in his state do well in the World Forage Analysis Superbowl.
“They do a good job, but Mother Nature helps us a lot,” says Randall, crop and forage program manager with the Wyoming Business Council.
Wyoming growers dominated this year’s contest, winning the overall championship and the commercial hay and grass hay categories. Several others were finalists and one was grand champion first-time entrant.
Kellie Hinman of Hardrock Farms, Wheatland, was named grand champion forage producer and her dad, David, won the commercial hay category. Kellie’s winning sample, from a 2010 fourth cutting of a Syngenta alfalfa variety, scored 356 for relative forage quality (RFQ), testing 25.1% crude protein, 20.5% NDF and 56% NDF digestibility.
In addition to 500 acres of alfalfa, the Hinmans grow corn, malt barley and edible beans and have a 250-cow commercial beef herd. Kellie is in charge of the beef operation, Lazy 2K Livestock, and helps with haying and other work. Her dad runs the hay enterprise with Teri, his wife and Kellie’s mom.
“She runs the little baler and I run the big square baler,” says David Hinman.
Teri sells small bales year-round out of a 50 x 175’ hay barn. David markets the big squares, currently shipping most of them to dairy goat producers in a Colona, IA, Amish community.
“They buy all of our third cutting and some of our first and second,” he says. “They buy all of our premium hay, and I think they found out about us through the contest.”
The Hinmans have been superbowl finalists in the commercial hay category four of the last five years. David placed third in 2006, when he was also top first-time entrant, and in 2010. Kellie placed second in 2006, third in 2007 and first in 2008. She has won the alfalfa hay category of World Ag Expo Forage Challenge the past two years.
Hinman agrees that his farm’s elevation (5,200’) and dry climate help him make high-quality hay.
“We irrigate everything, so the drier the better,” he says. “Our humidity usually runs about 20%, so we bale at night and early morning when we get a little dew.”
Randall deserves some credit for Wyoming growers’ superbowl success, too. He encourages them to enter the Wyoming State Fair Hay Show, then sends winning samples to the Forage Superbowl. The Wyoming Business Council pays the $25 entry fees and shipping costs. Randall entered five alfalfa and five grass hay samples for growers this year, and most became winners or finalists.
Hinman’s winning entry in the commercial hay category was a Syngenta alfalfa variety that tested 24.7% protein, 18.5% ADF and 21% NDF, with a 343 RFQ score. Dart Hay Service, Streator, IL, placed second; Danko Farms, Powell, WY, took third.
Danko Farms won the grass hay category, new this year. Its orchardgrass-bromegrass mixture tested 17.5% protein, 26.6% ADF and 34% NDF and scored 270 for RFQ. David Olson, Lena, WI, and Pounder Brothers, Inc., Delavan, WI, placed second and third, respectively.
Pounder Brothers, Inc., won the commercial baleage category with a mixture of Roadrunner alfalfa and Niva orchardgrass that tested 26% protein, 20.3% ADF and 35.2% NDF. Its RFQ score was 213. Summit Farms, Plymouth, WI, placed second and Houmes Farms, Veedersburg, IN, finished third. Kendall Guither of Walnut, IL, who topped the category in 2007, 2008 and 2010 and placed second in 2009, finished fifth.
A sample of WL 363HQ alfalfa with a 272 RFQ score won the dairy hay championship for S & B Dairy, Sigel, IL. It tested 24% crude protein, 23.1% ADF, 25.5% NDF and produced 3,378 lbs of milk per ton. Ever-Green-View, Waldo, WI, and Old Settler Dairy, LLC, Denmark, WI, placed second and third, respectively.
Corner Oak Farm, Grand Blanc, MI, won the dairy haylage championship with Kingfisher Excelerator alfalfa. The sample tested 22.8% crude protein, 20% ADF and 25.7% NDF. It scored 265 for RFQ and produced 3,452 lbs of milk per ton. Finishing second and third, respectively, were S&S Ag Enterprises, Sturgeon Bay, WI, and Elberta Valley AG, Elberta, UT.
In the standard dairy corn silage category, a sample of Mycogen TMF 2N494 took first place for Kim Leudeman, Hersey, MI. It tested 34.8% starch, 36.1% NDF and 68% NDF digestibility, producing 3,583 lbs of milk per ton. B & D Dairy, Pound, WI, placed second; Hickory Gables, Inc., Hickory Corners, MI, third.
The BMR dairy corn silage championship was won by Jon Merrell, Wolcott, NY, with a sample of Mycogen F2F488 that tested 33.2% starch, 36.4% NDF and 75.7% NDF digestibility. It produced 3,680 lbs of milk per ton. True Farms, Inc., Perry, NY, and Four Mile Creek Dairy, LLC, Rice Lake, WI, placed second and third, respectively.
Bappe Farm, Riverton, WY, was this year’s champion first-time entrant. Sugar Creek Farms, Dansville, NY, and Valley Hill Farm, Kendall, WI, won Quality Counts awards.
This year’s contest had 398 entries, 43% more than in 2010, and winners took home $22,000 in cash prizes.
The superbowl’s organizing partners are Hay & Forage Grower, AgSource Cooperative Services, DairyBusiness Communications, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, University of Wisconsin and World Dairy Expo.