What is in this article?:
- Annual hay contest illustrates difficult year for Southeast growers
- Weather challenges a drag
- Wet weather early in the season and widespread disease and insect damage later in the season made making high-quality forage a challenge in the Southeast hard this year, but an annual contest shows some producers were still able to make some good hay.
THOUGH GOOD quality hay was made in the Southeast this year, the numbers were down for the annual Southeast Hay Contest, marking a tough year for producers facing soggy weather and rampant disease and insect pressure.
Results from the annual Southeast Hay Contest show just how tough 2013 was for Southern hay producers who faced a season drenched with rainy problems early and widespread disease and insect damage later.
The SEHC is put on by Auburn University, Clemson University, The University of Florida and The University of Georgia.
The 2013 results are broken down into the six categories: warm-season perennial grass hay (bermudagrass, bahiagrass), perennial peanut and alfalfa hay, perennial cool-season grass (tall fescue, orchardgrass), mixed and annual grass hay, grass baleage and legume baleage.
Weather is always a major limiting factor when attempting to produce high quality forage. In the past seven years, drought has been the major limitation. This year, however, near daily rainfall across the region during the first several months of the growing season greatly limited producer’s ability to get into their hayfields.
Widespread challenges with disease and insect damage in the later part of the season further reduced quality and quantity. These challenges resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of entries from the usual quality hay producers. There were only 109 entries to the contest this year, a 30 percent decrease from last year