Hay at The 2014 New York State Fair
By Julie Hansen - Cornell University, Bill Verbeten - NWNY CCE Dairy Team, Janet Fallon, Sally Flis - Dairy One, and Nancy Weber
Are you a hay producer in New York State? Did you enter a hay sample in the New York State Fair? If not, here's what you missed out on: for a $10 entry fee, you would have gotten two admission tickets to the NYS Fair good for two days, and a hay analyses valued at $22, compliments of Dairy One Forage Lab, Ithaca, NY! Whoa, what a value for hay producers! The trick is to get your bale or bale samples to Syracuse the day before the state fair starts.
For the 2014 State Fair, hay was entered from farms in Alton, Cazenovia, Central Square, Fulton, Moravia, Richfield Springs, and Tully. Hay was entered in one of the seven classes:
Class 1 - Alfalfa - Alfalfa content greater than 75%
Class 2 - Grass - Mostly perennial grasses
Class 3 - Grass mix - Alfalfa grass mix
Class 4 - Other
Class 102 - Organic Grass - Mostly perennial grasses
Class 103 - Organic Grass mix - Alfalfa grass mix
Class 104 - Organic Other
Hay was judged based on the physical characteristics (50 points: molding/odor, foreign material, maturity, leaf retention, color) and on forage lab analyses (50 points: dry matter, crude protein, fiber, fiber digestibility). In Class 1 (alfalfa), bales with good maturity (1/10th bloom) and leaf content received first and second place. In Class 2 (grass), the bale with the lowest fiber content won first place. Mixed alfalfa grass bales (Class 3), bales with the highest fiber digestibility won first and second place. The winning bale in Class 4 (other) had perfect scores for maturity, leaf retention, color, fiber and fiber digestibility. Three organic bales were entered and the bale entered in the organic 'other' class had the best overall score of 94.
Thanks to all who entered hay bales in this contest and congratulations to the winners. Please consider entering your hay next year. Thanks to Dairy One for analyzing the hay samples and providing the analyses to the judges and participants.