The champion hay at the Ozark Empire Fair this year was exhibited by Steve Johnston of Marshfield. James Arnold of Nixa had the reserve champion entry.

This year’s show was smaller than in recent years, according to Eldon Cole, the University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist who coordinates the hay show.

“For the first time in the 23-year history of the hay show at the fair, we did not have a straight alfalfa entry. This was largely a result of the Easter freeze which damaged a lot of the first-cutting of alfalfa,” said Cole.

While alfalfa entries were missing, small grain hays were the largest in several years. Once again, Cole says this is because of the freeze of the wheat in April.

Johnston’s top entry was a second cutting of alfalfa and orchardgrass. It had a Relative Feed Value (RFV) of 133, a Total Digestible Nutrient (TDN) level of 57.5 percent and a Crude Protein (CP) level of 17.6 percent (all on a dry matter basis).

The Arnold hay came from the cool season grass class and was orchardgrass, Hallmark was the variety. The RFV was 105, CP was 17.1 and the TDN level was 62 percent. This second cutting scored a perfect 40 points from the judge Jim Stine, a long-time hay show exhibitor from Billings.

Other class winners were: Eddie Shepherd, Aurora with a bermudagrass entry; Steve Johnston, Marshfield won the summer/winter annual grass class with an oat entry; and Hanna Properties, Noel was first in two large hay package classes, the grass-legume and warm season classes. Glenn Obermann, Monett, showed the first place legume large hay package while Matt Manary, Marshfield topped the cool season grass class for large packages.

A number of these producers will send their hay to the Missouri State Fair where southwest Missouri has done well in past years.

“Whether you enter a fair hay show or not, the important thing is for producers to test some of their hay each year to know the energy and protein levels in the forages,” said Cole. “The cost to test hay is only about $15 and that investment can save hundreds of dollars in feed expense.”

For more information on testing forages contact one of these local MU Extension agronomy specialists: Tom Hansen, (417) 862-9284 or Tim Schnakenberg, (417) 357-6812.

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