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Producer wins top national hay award

Arkansas

Johnson County producer Jamey Styles has broken a decade of dominance by northwest Arkansas hay growers by winning the highest award for Bermuda hay quality from the American Forage and Grasslands Council.

Styles, of Coal Hill, received the national award at the AFGC's annual conference held June 12 to 15 in French Lick, Ind.

The 2011 award was the 11th consecutive top honor for a producer involved in the Arkansas Quality Forage program.

One of six Arkansas producer entries, Style's sample represented the fifth harvest of his own field-selected variety, "Genesis." It's the first time for a Bermuda variety other than Greenfield to achieve the highest award.

Styles became involved with the University of Arkansas Quality Forage Program in 2004, said Robert Seay, Benton County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

"His Bermuda hay yield, quality, equipment innovation and marketing skills gained the attention of other producers from Arkansas, northeastern Oklahoma and southwest Missouri involved in this annual program," Seay said. "Over the last seven years, Jamey has received the highest hay quality awards presented in the Arkansas program and was named Grower of the Year in 2007 by his group of peers."

Styles works closely with Blair Griffin, Johnson County Extension agent for the U of A Division of Agriculture, to fine-tune Bermuda hay management.

"Jamey was the first Quality Forage Program participant south of Benton County to document the production of Bermuda hay having a relative feed value of 100, a feat he accomplished in 2004 and repeated during each successive year," Griffin said. An RFV score of 100 equates to the hay quality of mid-bloom alfalfa and is an indication of superior Bermuda grass hay.

In addition to receiving a high visual quality score based on hay color, texture and purity, Style's entry achieved a 19.8 percent protein level, 75 percent total digestible nutrients, a 141 RFV score and a 141 relative feed quality score.

"Jamey's Bermuda hay quality scores are bumping levels commonly seen in alfalfa," said John Jennings, Extension forage specialist for the U of A Division of Agriculture.

At the March 5 Arkansas Quality Forage awards program, Styles won Best Overall Sample and, along with five other producers, selected to represent Arkansas in the national contest. The six Arkansas Bermuda hay entries, which averaged 17.3 percent protein, 72 percent TDN, 125 RFV, and 140 RFQ, "strengthens the claim that Arkansas producers continue to grow the nation's best Bermuda hay," Seay said.

For more information on managing Bermuda for yield and quality, contact your county Extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.



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