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Dairy Today Expo Extra

RSS By: Catherine Merlo, Dairy Today

Dairy Today's Catherine Merlo brings you the latest from the World Dairy Expo.

Prize Money, Pride and a Pat on the Back for Forage Superbowl Winners

Oct 05, 2013

Ohio dairy producer Lambert VanderMade, one of Dairy Today’s four 2013 Dollars & Sense contributors, made a good showing in the 30th annual World Forage Analysis Superbowl at this year’s World Dairy Expo. He won third place – and $250 -- in the Standard Dairy Corn Silage (non-BMR) category, one of the highest-entry categories in this year’s national competition.

But VanderMade can’t be as happy as producers Doug and Sandy Kerfeld of Fuchs Kerfeld Dairy in Albany, Minn., who took the Superbowl’s overall Grand Champion honors for their haylage entry. The Kerfelds were awarded $3,000 by that category’s sponsor, NutriSave Forage Management System. Judges were impressed with the Kerfeld sample’s strong Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) component (298) and its high Milk Performance index (3,957 lb.).

This year’s Superbowl competition received 321 samples from 22 states, Doug Harland of Dairyland Laboratories told me Friday. Among the seven forage categories, the corn silage categories for both BMR and non-BMR received the highest number of entries.

Forage Superbowl and Harland 10 4 13
Doug Harland of Dairyland Laboratories shows the Grand Champion haylage sample (lower right) from Fuchs Kerfeld Dairy.

"Some of the top forages in the country are here," said Harland, pointing to the clear plastic containers of pungent, dark-green samples. Ten winners from each category are displayed in the Arena Building during Expo.

Harland manages the World Forage Analysis Superbowl. Each year, he gathers the entries, analyzes them at his company’s DePere, Wis., lab, and then brings in three judges from the University of Wisconsin to select the winners. They determine winning entries using a ratio of 60% forage analysis, 30% visual evaluation, and 10% milk performance. The judges evaluate things like dry matter content, crude protein, NDF levels, chop length, kernel processing, color and smell. As Harland points out, often just a narrow spread separates the top entries in each category.

The dairy corn-silage BMR category drew the most participants, with 121 entries, Harland said. Its Grand Champion winner was Holmes Acres of New Woodstock, N.Y. Judges found that entry’s strengths in its digestibility (68.21) and its Milk Performance (3,782 lb.) Holmes Acres received $1,500 from category sponsor Blue River Hybrids.

The Grand Champion First-Time Entrant cash award of $1,500 went to Ed Byers Dairy, of Enon Valley, Pa., for its entry in the dairy corn-silage BMR category, which it won. Kuhn North America sponsored that category and its prize money. Gregg Troyer, of Dalton, Ohio, was named Grand Champion in the Dairy Haylage category, sponsored by Ag-Bag. Doody Farm, of Tully, N.Y., took the Grand Champion award in the standard (non-BMR) corn silage category.

Producer sniffs forage 10 4 13
Dairy producer Gary Reese of Simpsonville, Ky., judges one of the winning samples by its smell Friday at World Dairy Expo.

Each category’s Grand Champion wins $1,500. Second-place winners receive $500, third place gets $250, and fourth place collects $100. In all, more than $22,000 in cash prizes was awarded to top-finishing producers. The winners were announced Oct. 2 at the World Forage Analysis Superbowl Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Mycogen Seeds, at World Dairy Expo. Click here for the list of winners and sponsors. 

"We’re always pushing for more participation in Forage Superbowl," Harland said. "It’s a big competition for showing the worth of good quality forage."

From his dairy barn in northwest Ohio, VanderMade was pleased but realistic with his third-place win. "Winning is nice," he told me by phone on Friday, "but feeding the silage in the bunk is more important."

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