IN its third year, the annual hay competition run by Waroona Rural Services (WRS) is expected to grow in entrant numbers again this year.
The competition, designed to encourage local pasture growers to get the best quality and yield per hectare out of their pasture seed purchases from WRS, attracted 44 entries in its first year.
Last year some local dairy farmers entered for the first time and pushed entrant numbers up to 70.
Hay competition organiser and WRS general manager Dominic Pizone expects entrant numbers to continue to grow this year.
"It (the competition) is definitely growing because we're able to help people select pastures for their conditions and what they are doing," Mr Pizone said.
"They (entrants) get a hay report (bale core samples are taken in December and tested at a cost of about $66 each which is charged to the entrant) and they own that.
"Some (entrants from the past two years) are working hard on improving hay quality.
"They have worked out that quality is worth more to you, if you spend the money on the right seed and fertiliser.
"If you get it right, it's worth more to you in production - you grow the same amount of feed but your animals do better on the improved quality.
"That's what we are focussing on."
As in previous years, there will be two categories in the competition - category one aimed at large commercial farms which purchase more than 1000 kilograms of pasture seed from WRS and category two aimed at smaller private farms which purchase more than 500kg of seed.
Category one first prize is a tonne of Bells Premium Pasture Mix valued at $6750, second prize is $1000 cash and third prize is a tonne of Omya Calciprill valued at $470.
Category two first prize is a tonne of Barenbrug Vortex Annual Ryegrass seed valued at $5000, second prize is $500 cash and third prize is a tonne of Omya Calciprill.
There will also be a $500 cash prize for the most improved hay test.
Mr Pizone said WRS also expected to expand its pasture field trials this year too, with a new site and up to 20 seed varieties selected for trial - up from 15 varieties last year.
Included in the trials will be a hybrid ryegrass, a late-season annual variety and a new Persian clover variety which have not been trialled previously in WA.
"For those three new varieties it will be the first time they have been grown in WA," Mr Pizone said.
"We will also be looking at some chemicals too at these trials, with a little bit of liquid down the tube first."
In both years of the hay competition so far, the best hay in category one has been grown by Geoff and Kelly Kielman, Lilyvale Grazing, Meelon, who produce commercial hay for horses and cattle and their own Angus breeding herd.
Neil Bruce, Waroona, has also won first prize in category two both years, using WRS's own pasture mix to feed his 90 Simmental-Charolais cross cattle.
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