Published on 10/29/19

Winners announced in Southeastern Hay Contest

By Clint Thompson

A record 380 entries were submitted in this year’s Southeastern Hay Contest (SEHC), and the grand prize was awarded to Yon Family Farms of Ridge Spring, South Carolina. The winner received $1,000 from Massey Ferguson and the choice of the use of a new Massey Ferguson DM Series disc mower or RK Series rotary rake for next year’s hay production season.

All of the winners were announced at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, on Oct. 15.

The contest is a collaborative partnership between the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, Auburn University and Clemson University. Winners are selected in seven categories of hay and baleage: warm season perennial grass hay (Bermuda grass, bahiagrass), alfalfa hay, perennial peanut hay, perennial cool season grass (tall fescue, orchardgrass, etc.) hay, mixed and annual grass hay, grass baleage, and legume baleage.

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

Warm Season Perennial Grass Hay

  1. Jeff Bacon Dudley, Georgia
  2. Scott Chambers, Braselton, Georgia
  3. Eddy Turner Farm, Tennille, Georgia

Alfalfa Hay

  1. Stegall Farms LLC, Peachland, North Carolina
  2. Cline Farms, Valdese, North Carolina
  3. Bill Conrad, Malone, Florida

Perennial Peanut Hay  

  1. Bill Conrad, Malone, Florida
  2. White Farms, Poulan, Georgia
  3. Williams Farm, Graceville, Florida

Cool Season Perennial Grass Hay

  1. Stegall Farms LLC, Peachland, North Carolina
  2. Chennault Plantation, Tignall, Georgia
  3. Case Farms, Trenton, Georgia

Mixed, Annual Grass or Other Hays

  1. Boyt (B and B) Farm Services, Thomaston, Georgia
  2. Jeff Bacon, Dudley, Georgia
  3. Charles Snell, Graceville, Florida

Grass Baleage

  1. Walter’s Farm LLC, Barnesville, Georgia
  2. Callaway Cattle Co., Hogansville, Georgia
  3. Wheless Farm, Lexington, Georgia

Legume Baleage

  1. Yon Family Farms, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
  2. G&S Farms, Chipley, Florida
  3. Fence Row Farms, Marshallville, North Carolina

First-place entries in each category received $150, second place received $100 and third place was awarded $75. These awards are provided by R.W. Griffin Industries, America’s Alfalfa, Perennial Peanut Producers Association, Inland Tarp and Liner, Athens Seed Company, Georgia Twine and Southeast Agriseeds.

The SEHC is a competition between producers from seven states — Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas and Texas — that allows farmers to gauge the progress of their crop from each sample submitted.

“We believe that each farmer who submitted an entry can continue to learn and improve their farming operation,” said Lisa Baxter, UGA Cooperative Extension forage specialist. “We want growers to continue to strive to work toward improving their hay quality. One of the best ways to do that is to sample their hay and enter a contest like this.”

Baxter said all farmers should test their hay regularly but admits that not all do.

Entries were judged by the UGA Feed and Environmental Water Lab using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR) 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.

More information on how to enter future editions of the SEHC can be found at

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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