High quality samples earn top honors at forage contest

Gloria Hafemeister

JUNEAU - Nothing beats the aroma of fresh cut hay. The sample of baled hay that Hartford forage producer Ron Wiskerschen entered in the Dodge County Forage Council’s contest on March 2 smelled and looked as if it had just been baled. No surprise then that the sample took first place in the contest.

Top entries in the Dodge County Forage Council’s forage contest on Friday at Juneau include, from left, Ron Wiskerschen, Hartford, winning baled hay; Peter McFarland, Watertown, winning haylage; Luke Miller, Oconomowoc, winning baleage; and Chris Conley, Neosho, winning corn silage.

Wiskerschen says, “I baled it the first week in November. We had a week of sunny nice weather and it was ideal for getting hay dry for baling.”

The hay was bright green and had lots of leaves attached to the stems.

First place in the haylage category went to Watertown dairy producer Peter McFarland.  His entry of a mix of alfalfa and grass tested out at 60% moisture with a NDFD of 30 and an RFQ of 199.

Luke Miller of Oconomowoc had the best baleage entry and Chris Conely of Neosho had the best corn silage entry.

Second place winners included Luke Beistle of Hartford for both dry hay and corn silage; Ken Wenninger, Iron Ridge, baleage and Craig Schmidt, Hustisford,  haylage.

Jason Sterr, president of the Dodge County Forage Council, said, “I’m amazed at the good quality of forage samples that come in for our contest each year.”

The forage contest was a part of the Council’s annual meeting in Juneau.  The meeting also featured presentations on how to get more out of forages during tough economic times, silage inoculants  and ways to assess alfalfa stand health.

National forage efforts

Chelsea Russell of the Midwest Forage Association, presented an update of that organization’s activities. 

According to Russell, “MFA provides the latest forage-related news, information and research to help you become more profitable and efficient.  It also offers valuable educational opportunities which are integral to improved forage management.”

Members of the Dodge County Forage Council are also members of MFA.

MFA works closely with local, regional and national forage industry experts to provide information and helpful tools for forage production.  Since starting in 2004 when Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota councils combined, MFA has grown into one of the strongest alfalfa and forage associations in the country and serves as a strong advocate for its members and the forage industry.

MFA is a part of the larger National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance which focuses on enhancing public policy and research.

In Wisconsin, MFA joins forces with the Wisconsin Custom Operators to host the Symposium and Annual Meeting at Wisconsin Dells in late February.