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Entries for Hay Contest Due by March

Livestock Update, February 2004

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

This year the Virginia Forage and Grasslands Council (VFGC) is hosting the American Forage and Grasslands Council (AFGC) Annual Meeting in Roanoke, June 12-16. In conjunction with the meeting the AFGC sponsors a hay contest. This hay contest and show evaluates hay based on nutrient content (75%) and physical appearance (25%). Nine different categories of hay are evaluated in the hay contest (see below). Winners receive prize money and national recognition.

Because Virginia is hosting the 2004 AFGC Annual Meeting, Virginia producers are strongly encouraged to enter the hay contest. So find an example of your best hay and send it in. There will be entries from across the US. Despite a tough hay making season for first cutting hay, second cutting was extremely good for many producers. At the very least, you will get your hay analyzed for nutrients and evaluated for the cost of shipping the samples.

The rules for the contest are listed below and on the AFGC website The deadline for submission is March 1, 2004. Please submit all entries to Dr. John B. Hall, 302 Litton Reaves, Animal & Poultry Sciences Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0306.

Hay Show Rules and Categories: 1. Entrants must be an American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) direct member or affiliate member.

2. Entrants may enter one (1) sample per class. Entrants may enter any or all classes.

3. Sample must be grown by the exhibitor.

4. Hay samples must have been baled or stacked by conventional haying equipment. Samples resulting from special handling such as hand harvesting will be disqualified. Judges' decision will be final.

5. Hay samples should include: a one-half pound core sample and a four (4) pound cross section of a bale (8"x14"x18", string tied for handling). Package samples from large bales or stacks in approximately the same size and weight as square baled hay and string tie.

6. Label each entry with the exhibitor's name, full address, type of hay and hay show class to be entered. An entry registered in the wrong class will be considered the exhibitor's error and may be reclassified by the judges.

7. Tie, wrap and label each entry separately to facilitate handling. Do not wrap entries in air tight bags that may cause sweating, mildew, and odor. If plastic bags are used for wrapping, make several small holes in the bag to allow the sample to breathe.

8. Classes (Grass class sample not to exceed 10% legume and legume sample not to exceed 10% grass):

I. Tropical or semitropical perennial grasses

II. Tropical or semitropical annual grasses

III. Temperate perennial grasses

IV. Temperate annual grasses

V. First cutting alfalfa, established stand

VI. First cutting alfalfa, new seeding stand

VII. Second and later cutting alfalfa

VIII. Other legumes

IX. Legume-grass mixtures, 50/50 is ideal

9. Judging will be based on NIRS Testing, providing scores for:

Relative Feed Value 45%

Relative Feed Quality 15% (see below for details)

Physical Appearance 25%

Crude Protein 15%


Note: Relative Feed Quality (RFQ) is being added this year as one of the forage quality criteria on a trial basis. RFV is still the main quality criteria as in past years. If you are not familiar with RFQ see publication: In short, RFQ provides a better indication of animal performance over all types of hay than RFV. A number of states are now using RFQ as a quality criteria to determine when to harvest, forage allocation to animals, and for buying and selling hay.

10. Awards will be presented to the top three (3) entries in each class. Up to seven (7) "Champions of Show" will be awarded.

Persons with questions about the Hay Show entries should contact Dr. John B. Hall at 540-231-9153 or

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