February 3, 2010
Contacts: See bullet list at end of release

Northern NY Forage Quality Cup Competition Begins February 16

The new Northern NY Forage Quality Cup competition offers farmers a friendly competition as a way to have their forage evaluated with cash prizes going to the producers of the top forage samples. The competition, organized by the Cornell Cooperative Extension associations of Northern New York and Dairy One, will accept samples from February 16 through March 26, 2010.

“Forage is a critical component for maintaining dairy herd health and strong milk production. This competition is a great way for farmers to get an evaluation of their forage quality and measure their forage production practices against other regional entries,” says Northern NY Forage Quality Cup organizer and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County Agronomist Joseph R. Lawrence.

Forage samples will be judged on a county-by-county and a regional basis for forage quality analysis and the milk per ton calculation based on the University of Wisconsin MILK2006 program.

Farmers may submit entries in three categories: conventional (non-BMR) corn silage, BMR corn silage, and haylage/baleage. A $5 per entry fee will be collected.

Farmers submitting entries will receive a standard forage analysis (valued at $16) from the Dairy One Forage Lab in Ithaca for each entry.

The Dairy One Forage Lab; Miller Spraying; Blue Sea Richer Dairy Nutrition; Farm Credit East, ACA, Burrville and Potsdam; Feed Commodities International, Inc.; Cargill Animal Nutrition; Countryside Veterinary Clinic; and Renaissance Nutrition, Inc. are sponsoring the competition.

The top rated samples in each county will receive $50 cash prizes with a $200 cash award presented to the NNY regional winner from all six counties for non-BMR corn silage and haylage/baleage. BMR corn samples will be accepted with one overall NNY regional winner receiving a $200 cash prize.

Farmers in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties will have the opportunity to bring forage samples to the Wednesday, February 17 Crop Congress at W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy.

Farmers in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties may bring forage samples to the 14th annual North Country Crop Congress in Carthage on March 24th and in Madrid on March 25th.

Entries will be accepted at all six NNY Cornell Cooperative Extension offices until March 26, 2010.

Lawrence says the winter timing of the competition was by design.

“Holding this competition in the winter emphasizes that the quality of forage at feed-out encompasses both fieldwork and storage management,” Lawrence says.

Field Crops Educator Michael E. Hunter of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County says, “This competition serves as an educational opportunity to enhance awareness of the importance of forage quality. Cornell Cooperative Extension will interview the winners about how they achieved high quality forage and will share their tips in newsletters and at educational programs to help other farmers follow their success model.”

NNY Regional Dairy Specialist for Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties Emily Myers says, "High quality forages are the backbone of ruminant nutrition; without them you can almost guarantee that milk production will be down, and/or feed expenses will be up. This competition will give your farm an idea of how it's doing compared to others across the region, along with a chance at a little extra spending money.”

County contacts for more information on entering the Northern New York Forage Quality Cup are:
• Clinton and Essex counties: Anita Deming, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, Westport, 518-962-4810 x409

• Franklin and St. Lawrence counties: Stephen R. Canner, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, Canton, 315-379-9192

• Jefferson County: Ron Kuck, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Watertown, 315-788-8450

• Lewis County: Joseph R. Lawrence, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County, Lowville, 315-376-5270.

Northern NY Forage Quality Cup winners will be announced in April with the winners’ forage production tips posted on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #

The Northern NY Forage Quality Cup revives a bit of agricultural history in the North Country. The archives at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County include the results of a 1958 Roughage Feed Competition.