Virginian wins Southeastern Hay Contest

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 370 entries were submitted in the 2020 Southeastern Hay Contest (SEHC), just below the record-setting number of submissions for 2019. More states submitted samples to the contest than ever before, with nine represented.

The 2020 Southeastern Hay Contest grand prize was awarded to Brian Johnson of McKenney, Virginia, for his alfalfa hay sample (not pictured). Pictured from left to right are Ash Alt, Massey Ferguson Field Execution Manager; Lisa Baxter, UGA Forage Extension Specialist; Leanne Dillard, Auburn University Forage Extension Specialist; and Marcelo Wallau, UF Forage Extension Specialist.

The grand prize was awarded to Brian Johnson of McKenney, Virginia, for his alfalfa hay sample. Johnson received $1,000 from Massey Ferguson and the choice of a new Massey Ferguson DM Series disc mower or RK Series rotary rake to use for next year’s hay production season. The top three entries in each category received cash prizes of $150, $100 and $50, respectively.

All of the winners were announced Jan. 5 at the American Forage and Grassland Council annual conference in Savannah, Georgia.

The contest is a collaborative partnership between the thirteen university Cooperative Extension programs in the southeast. Entries were judged by the UGA Feed and Environmental Water Lab using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy testing procedures. The sample with the highest relative forage quality (RFQ) score wins. The RFQ score rates the forage quality based on protein, energy and fiber digestibility.

This year’s winners in each category are as follows:

Warm Season Perennial Grass Hay:

Eddy Turner Farm; Tennille, Georgia

Jeff Bacon; Dudley, Georgia

J & R Farms; Edge Hill, Georgia

Alfalfa Hay:

Brian Johnson; McKenney, Virginia

Stegall Farms, LLC; Peachland, North Carolina

Bucky Malcolm; Madison, Georgia

Perennial Peanut Hay:

Bill Conrad; Malone, Florida

McGehee Farms; High Springs, Florida

Williams Farm; Graceville, Florida

Cool Season Perennial Grass Hay:

B & B Farm Services; Thomaston, Georgia

Oak Ridge Ranch, LLC; Dahlonega, Georgia

Seldom Rest Farm; Pulaski, Tennessee

Mixed, Annual Grass or other Hay:

Pittman Farms (Jerry Pittman); Nicholson, Georgia

R+A Farm; Brodnax, Virginia

Thousand Hills Farm LLC; Philomont, Virginia

Grass Baleage:

Walters Farm; Barnesville, Georgia

SSS Farms; Thomaston, Georgia

Kenneth D. McMichael; Monticello, Georgia

Legume Baleage:

Walters Farm; Barnesville, Georgia

Sewell Farms; Chipley, Florida

Rob Woods; Vernon, Florida

The contest is open to any hay or baleage producer from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia, as well as parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

All entries for the 2021 contest must be received by Sept. 1, and winners will be notified by Oct. 1. Awards will be presented during the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo on Oct. 19.

More information on how to enter the contest can be found at or by following on the Facebook page @SEHayContest.

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