A wet spring followed by late-summer drought helped Rick Weber win the 2003 World's Forage Analysis Superbowl.

The early wetness delayed Weber's first alfalfa cutting by about a week. He started cutting June 6, then stuck with his normal 28- to 30-day harvest schedule on his second and third crops. But he took the fourth cutting a few days early — on Aug. 28 — to beat the last-cutting cutoff date for winter survival in his state.

“We should have it off by Sept. 1 to get enough regrowth before the first frost,” says Weber, of Madison, MN.

“I didn't get much tonnage off that field, but dryness leads to higher quality,” he adds.

His winning superbowl entry, from a two-year-old stand of WL 319HQ, tested 24.1% crude protein, 24.3% NDF and 57.45% NDF digestibility. Its relative feed value and relative forage quality scores were 279 and 309, respectively.

Weber was named superbowl grand champion during last month's World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. He's primarily a corn and soybean farmer, growing only 30 acres of alfalfa. He usually feeds the first cutting and any off-quality hay to his own beef cattle, selling the rest at a nearby hay auction.

He entered the contest's commercial hay class, where he's been a finalist the past several years.

Other top 2003 winners include the Kamps family of Darlington, WI. Jacob Kamps won the commercial baleage class; his parents, Dan and Ruth, placed second; and brother Joshua finished third. The Kamps name is on the list of superbowl finalists almost every year. Joshua was overall grand champion in 1997 and his parents won top honors in 2000.

Perennial finalists Karl and Barb Wogsland, Scandinavia, WI, topped the dairy hay class. They have consistently placed near the top of that class in recent years, and were contest grand champions in 1996. Second place went to Thomas Woodford, Fall Creek, WI, and Jeanquart Farms, Casco, WI, finished third.

The Wogslands also placed third in dairy haylage. Cross Farms LLC, Winneconne, WI, won the class. Matt Shafer, Spring Valley, WI, took second.

Dick and Powell Farm, Cordell, OK, placed first in commercial hay, followed by Dan and Cora Hausladen, New Germany, MN, and Paul Peterson, American Fork, UT.

Brown midrib hybrids once again dominated the corn silage class, nabbing all of the top 20 placings. Ted Grembowicz, Clarendon, VT, placed first. Dave De Kam, Falmouth, MI, and Dalmann Farms, Brillion, WI, placed second and third, respectively.

Cash Ruane, North Clarendon, VT, was named top first-time entrant.

The annual superbowl is sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower, AgSource Cooperative Services, DairyBusiness Communications, World Dairy Expo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.