Natrona County hay producers can showcase their best hay and vie for recognition in the open class hay show during the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo July 6-14 at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper.
The entry deadline is 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 25.
“I believe it is important for hay producers to enter the hay show so we can continue to educate the public on the production of feed for the cattle industry that feeds us,” said Donna Cuin, horticulturist in the University of Wyoming Extension office in Natrona County. “I also believe it makes good or great hay more marketable, and great hay should bring a premium price to the producer. If they find they have a high feed-value product, they should be able to receive a premium price for their hay.”
Producers can enter wired or string-tied cubes of alfalfa, grass or mixed hay. For small-baled hay classes, one small square bale constitutes one entry. Large bale entries are encouraged, said Cuin. A minimum 25-pound sample, in an enclosed box secured by tape or cord, constitutes an entry from a large bale.
Samples can be from forage cut anytime this year before the fair or cut in 2011 after last year’s fair. Entries must include harvest information (first, second or third cutting), harvest acres, estimated ton of hay from the harvest and vintage year.
Registration is free. There is a $15 cost to have hay analyzed for relative feed value (RFV). Hay samples are accepted at the Agricultural Resource and Learning Center, 2011 Fairgrounds Road, Casper, where it will be cored.
“A portion of the hay is removed with a machine that takes a sample about a foot long through the exhibit, and it is sent to a lab to be tested for its RFV,” said Cuin. “The lab runs tests and sends us a sample prior to the judging day. The test results are used to determine the value of the hay as a feed source for cattle.”
Judging begins 10 a.m. Monday, July 9. Along with RFV, the judge will consider crude protein, leaf capture and retention, color, odor, freedom from foreign materials and mold, maturity, texture and bale confirmation.
Premiums are $20, $15, $10 and $5 for first through fourth places, respectively. Greenline Equipment will pay $30 to the highest RFV, $20 to the second highest and $50 to the exhibitor who places highest in three or more categories.