High-quality hay from Ozarks showcased at fair
The 2012 Ozark Empire Fair Hay Show saw record quality hay in the legume and grass/legume classes. The cool-season and warm-season grass classes posted Relative Feed Value average scores that were exceeded only two times in the show dating back to 1985.
Jim Stine of Clever, a long-time entrant and winner of shows in the past, served as judge this year. "I'm surprised how good the hay is this year. The alfalfa class and both grass classes are the best I can remember seeing. The hay all smelled great with no moldiness," said Cline.
The high quality is attributed to an earlier than normal season with dry weather that allowed farmers to harvest hay in April and very early May. Some entered third cuttings, which typically is difficult to do at the OEF.
The grand champion hay was entered by Glenn and Toni Obermann, Monett. Their alfalfa entry was cut June 12 and had a 230 RFV. The RFV makes up 60 percent of the final index in the show. The RFV combines the acid and neutral detergent values.
The Obermanns are no strangers to the winners circle as they were Ozark Empire Fair champs in 2010, reserve champions in 2011 and state fair champions in 2011.
David Tiller of Walnut Grove claimed the reserve champion rosette with an alfalfa/orchardgrass mix that had a 175 RFV. Other class winners were: cool-season grass, Mark Fellwock, Monett, fescue, second cutting, RFV 110; warm-season grass, Tom Burdess, Cassville, third cutting, Bermuda, RFV 103; and in the big round bale category Fellwock won the legume and summer/winter annual class with respective RFVs of 189 (alfalfa) and 91 (sorghum/sudan).
Kevin Dotson of Billings topped the cool-season grass, big bale class with an 81 RFV. It was fescue cut May 8. Raymond Garbee, Billings, rounded out the class winners with an alfalfa/orchardgrass entry with a 117 RFV.
"The downside of the impressive hay quality display is that most farmers have seen lower yields this year due to the dry weather. The exhibitors indicated they would probably need all the hay they produced for their own cattle. A few will have hay to sell, but for a premium price," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
The Ozark Empire Fair Hay Show is a joint effort of the fair, University of Missouri Extension, Custom Laboratory, Inc. Golden City, Marshfield Machinery, Marshfield and S & H Farm Supply, Lockwood and Springfield.
Complete lab results and a review of all the hay shows may be seen online at http://extension.missouri.edu/lawrence.