The 18th year of the Southeastern Hay Contest climaxed this morning when a hay producer from Climax, N.C., was named the grand prize winner at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga. After the 371 contest entries were analyzed, it was Beeson Farms’ alfalfa hay that outdistanced the pack with a relative forage quality (RFQ) of 359.

“Producers faced many difficult decisions this season with respect to managing high input costs,” noted Lisa Baxter, an extension forage specialist with the University of Georgia. “On top of financial challenges, Mother Nature threw us a few curveballs in the Southeast this season. Many producers encountered extended periods of drought or heavy rain, depending on the time of year, and neither were conducive for a successful hay harvest,” she added.

The Southeastern Hay Contest recognizes winners in seven different forage categories (see table below). In each category, the three highest RFQ samples captured cash prizes for the entrants. For its winning entry, Beeson Farms will receive $2,000 in cash and the use of either a new Massey Ferguson DM series disc mower or RK series rotary rake for the 2023 hay production season.

The Southeastern Hay Contest is coordinated by the extension services at Auburn University, Clemson University, the University of Florida, Virginia Tech, and the University of Georgia. Producers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma (east of I-35), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (east of I-35), and Virginia are eligible to submit entries. Extension agents in the various states engage producers and collect samples.

For additional information, visit the contest website.