Dairyland Seeds' HybriForce-2400 Wins World Forage Analysis Superbowl Hay Division
After placing second last year, Tom Kestell and his son Chris, took top honors in the Dairy Hay Division of the 2012 World Forage Analysis Superbowl. The winning entry came from a third-year stand of Dairyland Seed HybriForce-2400 and featured 86.2 percent dry matter, a crude protein level of 25.7 and a relative feed quality value of 250.
The 29th annual World Forage Analysis Superbowl included 345 entries from 23 states. Dairy samples are judged on lab analysis (60 percent), visual judging (20 percent), herd production information (10 percent), and calculated milk per ton (10 percent). Commercial entries are judged on lab analysis (70 percent) and visual judging (30 percent). Visual judging consists of analyzing the color, texture, maturity and leafiness, depending on the category. Dairyland Laboratories, located in DePere, Wis., tested the samples.
The Kestells, who farm near Waldo, Wis., enter the contest nearly every year and say there is no secret to their success, it's a matter of paying attention to detail. "It's doing everything to the best of your ability-managing the whole system from taking care of the ground to harvesting on time," explains Tom Kestell.
"You have to start with good seed," he adds. Kestell only plants hybrid alfalfa and has stands of HybriForce-400 and HybriForce-2400 hybrids. He likes the persistence of HybriForce alfalfa, noting the large leaf-to-stem ratio as a significant advantage. He says the farm's fields withstood this growing season's drought conditions.
"We were short on rain all year, but we did get some timely rains," says Kestell. Even with moisture challenges, both HybriForce-400 and HybriForce-2400 hybrids performed well this summer.
The Kestells did foliar feed their alfalfa a couple of times during the season using a commercial formula. "We do this whenever we think it will help the crop," Kestell says. Meanwhile, they scout regularly for pests and soil test every three years to monitor soil fertility, applying nutrients as prescribed by the results. Alfalfa fields receive liquid manure applications prior to stand establishment.
Not only did these efforts reward the Kestells with the winning Dairy Hay entry, several other samples from the farm also placed highly in the forage contest.
"Congratulations to Tom and Chris on a job well done," says Chad Staudinger, Dairyland Seed forage product manager. "The results show once more that HybriForce-2400 outperforms the competition and offers growers superior feed quality and quantity they can depend on."
Recently released on-farm test plot data show hybrid alfalfa outperformed traditional varieties 91 percent of the time and produced an impressive 8.4 percent yield increase over non-hybrid competitive varieties across the Midwest during 2012. That is up nearly a full percentage point from previous years.
"In a year with less than ideal conditions, it's remarkable to see a 1-percentage point yield gain above past performance," notes Staudinger. "It's important to invest in a variety that will perform well under good conditions, but it's even better to know that it will perform when conditions are less than ideal, as well."
About Dairyland Seed Co., Inc.
Dairyland Seed began its seed business in 1907 and has built an established dealer network throughout the Upper Midwest, with international sales in more than 20 countries. The business experienced great success under the leadership of Orville and Marie Strachota, entering the field of plant breeding in 1977. Now part of Dow AgroSciences, the family leadership continues through their son Tom and grandson TJ. Dairyland Seed is headquartered in West Bend, Wis.