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— The late Ivan Duncan of Decatur used an old single-row corn planter fitted with the bottom half of a 55-gallon barrel to hold sprigs to establish his first Bermuda grass planting "too many years ago to remember."

Ivan (Sept. 6, 1919, to Aug. 12, 2009) was considered the patriarch of quality Bermuda-hay production in Benton County. As a final tribute, the Quality Forage Producers agreed to name their annual event the "Ivan Duncan Invitational Bermuda Hay Contest."

One of the first producers to recognize the importance of good management, Ivan's Bermuda advice was often sought by others.

Recognizing the importance of generating better information, Ivan became a charter member of the Benton County QualityForage Program.

Although the oldest producer, Ivan set the pattern for hay quality that first year, and from 1998 to 2009 won multiple awards for Highest Protein, Highest TDN and Relative Feed Value. In addition, Ivan was the recipient of the Bermuda Producer of the Decade award. He enjoyed "talking Bermuda" and, as a result, was the focus of a 2006 Arkansas Agriculture magazine article in which he pinpointed many proven practices.

With nine national Bermuda-hay-quality titles, Quality Forage participants are seeking their 10th. Eligibility is open to any producer, regardless of county or state residence, and can be initiated by contacting the Benton County Extension Office at 271-1060 or e-mail

The $15 per sample entry fee will provide participants a forage analysis, an invitation to the annual program, a catfish dinner, door-prize eligibility, hay quality-award eligibility and an occasion to get acquainted with other Bermuda-hay producers.

Multiple samples may be entered, but each must be comprised of core samples taken from a single harvest and variety. Samples must be taken by a representative of the County Extension Office with a deadline of Nov. 1.

Results will remain confidential in regards to producer identity, with the exception of samples qualifying forrecognition. Awards are based on color, highest protein (CP), TDN, RFV and RFQ by (1) harvest period and (2) variety. In addition, producers of the Best Sample Overall and Best Overall Sample Average will be recognized.

Top samples will be eligible for entering the next American Forage and Grasslands Council Hay Contest to be held in Springfield, Mo.

Robert L. Seay is a county extension agent with the University of Arkansas' Cooperative Extension Services.

Call him at (479) 271-1060 or e-mail

News, Pages 10 on 09/23/2009

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