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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 bermudagrass planting "too many years ago to remember".

Ivan (Sept. 6, 1919 - Aug. 12, 2009) was considered the patriarch of quality Bermuda hay production in Benton County. As a final tribute, the Arkansas Quality Forage Program 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. However, recognizing the importance of generating better information, Ivan became a charter member of the "Quality Forage" program in 1998.

Although the oldest producer, Ivan set the patternfor hay quality that first year and from 1998-2000 won multiple awards for highest protein, including highest total digestible nutrients, or TDN, and relative feed value, or RFV. 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, Arkansas is seeking its tenth which, hopefully, will come from a participant in this annual contest. The contest is open to any producer, regardless of county or state of residence. If interested, producers should contact their county extension office.

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

Producers may enter as many samples as they like, but each entry must be comprised of core samples taken from multiple bales from a single harvest and variety. Samples must be taken by a representative of the producer's county extension office and received by Nov. 1.

Results will remain confidential except for samples qualifying for awards. Recognition will be based on color, highest protein (CP), TDN, RFV and relative feed quality by harvest period and variety. In addition, producers of the best sample overall and the best overall sample average will be recognized.

Top samples will be eligible to compete for the next American Forage & Grasslands Council hay contest to be held in Springfield, MO. Assistance to ensure compliance with council guidelines will be provided. If further information is needed, contact your county extension office.

News, Pages 11 on 09/23/2009

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