Rules and Entry Form

2024 SE Hay Rules

To qualify for entry to the SE Hay Contest, the producer and submitting local Extension Agent must submit the entry form and payment SIMULTANEOUSLY to:

Southeastern Hay Contest

Feed and Environmental Water Lab (FEW)

2300 College Station Road

Athens, Georgia 30602-4356

All entries must be postmarked by Friday, August 30th, 2024

  1. This contest is open to any hay or baleage producer from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma (east of I-35), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (east of I-35), or Virginia. However, entries must be submitted by the farm where the forage was grown. Because of climatic conditions that differ west of Interstate-35, all samples must originate from fields located east of I-35.
  2. Hay/baleage sample, entry form, and analysis & entry fees ($22 in total) must be postmarked by Friday, August 30th, 2024. The fee includes the F2 test: standard NIRS testing + nitrate testing” with a fee of $20 plus an entry fee of $2 per sample. The contest entry form must be submitted with the sample. If there are multiple entries, a contest entry form must be submitted with each individual sample.
  3. Samples can be submitted year-round. Samples received with postmarks after the deadline of August 30th, 2024 will be automatically considered for the 2024 contest.
  4. A completed contest entry form must be submitted by a local Extension Agent. This form requires the signature of your County or Regional Extension Agent. By signing the entry form, the Agent certifies that the producer has met all contest rules/requirements. Agents must assign an entry number by state and county on the entry form.  This code will be used as the sample ID for analysis and for judging (ex.  FL – Jackson Co-12). The Agent also must ensure that all fields on the form are filled out correctly.
  5. Lab analysis samples must be taken from a single lot of hay and from a minimum of 5-10 randomly sampled square or round bales. A lot is defined as forage taken from the same farm, field, and cut under uniform conditions within a 48-hour time period. Submit core samples for testing in a pint or quart sized zip-type bag labeled with Sample ID as described above. For guidance on appropriate hay sampling technique, please visit our website
  6. A portion of the hay should be collected as a grab sample for display purposes when the sample is collected. Display samples should be collected in a 1 or 2-gallon zip-type bag labeled with the Sample ID as described above. No baleage display sample is required due to storage issues. Display samples should be stored in local Extension offices until October 2024. AGENTS: be sure you keep a copy of the entry form with the display sample. Contest winners will be notified in early October and the winning display samples will be requested. Contest winners who cannot provide a display sample from the lot that was entered will be disqualified. Do not send display samples to the UGA-FEW lab or to the State Forage Extension Specialist unless they are requested.  
  7. Forage samples must be taken from fields with a minimum maturity or re-growth of at least 25 days to ensure fair competition. Hay from fields with less than 25 days of growth will be disqualified.
  8. Forage samples for analysis and contest entry must be collected using a hay probe type recommended by the National Forage Testing Association. For more, see:
  9. Forage samples with nitrate levels over 5000 parts per million (ppm) on a dry matter basis will be disqualified.
  10. Dry hay samples with over 18% moisture will be disqualified. Hay that has been treated with a hay preservative will be allowed within the crop species’ appropriate dry hay category, as long as the checkbox on the contest submission form indicates the hay preservative treatment and the moisture does not exceed levels where hay preservative treatment is expected to be effective (i.e., equal to or less than 25.0% moisture). Dry hay must have been dried in the field. The hay must not have been dried in a barn (e.g., forced air, fans, etc.). Baleage samples must be between 40 and 65% moisture (35-60% dry matter).
  11. A representative of all winning farms (farm owner, manager, family member, County Extension Agent, or designee) must be present at the award ceremony to receive the award and prize or they will be disqualified.
  12. Each farm to be recognized for a top 3 category ranking will receive two free admission pass to the Sunbelt Ag Expo. The awards ceremony is held on the first day of the Sunbelt Ag Expo (October 17th, 2023). Full results will be available to the state representatives to use for rankings and awards for local contests within their state at their discretion.
  13. Contestants who place within the top 3 RFQ scores (eligible for cash prizes) will only be awarded for the highest placement. Contestants may not claim numerous places within a category (e.g., Farm A has the 1st place RFQ score and their scores on other entries would take 2nd and/or 3rd place, but they will only receive the 1st placement with the remaining places going down the RFQ score list; 2nd and/or 3rd place will then be replaced by the next best RFQ score).
  14. Grand Prize winners (equipment winners) are ineligible for the overall win for the next 3 years.
  15. The SE Hay Contest form is the ONLY form that must be submitted. However, it MUST accompany the sample being entered along with a check for $22. If the form and sample do not arrive together, this sample will not qualify for entry into the contest. If the lab had previously tested forage that was not submitted officially with an SE Hay Contest form and one wishes to enter this forage in the contest, they must submit another sample to the lab accompanied by the SE Hay Contest form and the fee.
  16. Entries will be judged using NIR testing procedures by the University of Georgia Feed and Environmental Water (UGA-FEW) Lab. The entries will be ranked on the basis of Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), which accounts for protein, energy, and fiber digestibility. If necessary, ties in RFQ scores will be broken based on total digestible nutrients (TDN) then crude protein values.

The Southeastern Hay Contest is open to any hay producer in the southeastern U.S. without regards to race, color, sex, age, disability or national origin.