Southwest Missouri hay producers know what it takes to make premium hay. Some 47% of the entries at the 2007 Missouri State Fair Hay Show came from this region and made a strong showing.
Windy Ridge Farms of Marionville, operated by Clyde and Belinda Jones, claimed the grand and reserve grand champion awards. The grand prize hay was their alfalfa haylage entry that had a relative feed value of 197 to go with 25.2% crude protein and 65.2% total digestible nutrients. This was the first time a haylage entry had been picked as the top forage at the Missouri State Fair.
The reserve grand hay from Windy Ridge was their straight alfalfa from the third and fourth cutting class. It had a RFV of 174, CP was 19.9% and the TDN value was 63.2%. It excelled in the visual judging which is based on color, aroma, purity and condition.
Serving as judges this year were Bill Garrett, hay producer and marketer from Golden City and Jeremy Hayward, MFA agronomist, Nixa.
Among other entries that placed well in the competition were: James Arnold, Nixa, with the reserve champion grass hay; John Staiger, Billings, with the reserve champion in the balage classes on an alfalfa-orchardgrass entry; Eddie Shepherd, Aurora, topped the warm-season grass category with a bermudagrass entry and Brian and Jason Obermann, Monett, were first in the grass balage class.
Farmers across Missouri faced numerous weather challenges in 2007 as they harvested hay, according to Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist. "The weather was either too wet or too dry coupled with the disastrous Easter freeze that upset the whole growing season," Cole says. "With those handicaps, these top hay producers fared very well in the competition both at Sedalia and earlier at the Ozark Empire Fair."