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Local farmers place third in World Ag Expo Forage Challenge
TULARE — One local couple, Rick and Kim Perigo, has walked away from the World Ag Expo Forage Challenge with a third-place win and $1,000 award during a noontime presentation.
In all, more than 100 competitors entered the contest to see who had the best forage — plant material eaten by grazing livestock.
Farmers and ranchers from 11 Western states were invited to enter the World Ag Expo Forage Challenge, where the forage entries were judged in three categories — alfalfa hay, standard corn silage and brown midrib corn silage.
The Perigos entered the competition for alfalfa hay.
After forage lab analysis, along with a visual evaluation of the entries by experts in dairy nutrition and forage production, the winners were selected.
“We have farms in the Porterville-Terra Bella area and also in Nevada,” Rick Perigo said. “We grow hay in Nevada and bring it to Tulare County to sell. By its nature, because it is grown at a high elevation — 5,600 feet and above — and it is cool in the summer, it makes for high-quality hay.”
After attending the World Ag Expo last year and seeing some of the samples submitted into the contest, Rick Perigo said he decided to enter.
“I was kind of shocked. I knew we had a good sample and good seed, but it was still a surprise,” Rick Perigo said. “We sell all year to local dairymen. It’s really important to have high quality hay for them. The dairymen use it to blend it with other feed to raise the quality of the feed ration. We’ve been successful.”
Prior to the announcement of award recipient, three in each category, Vernal Gomes talked about forage.
“Forage has become very important, even more so in the last few years,” said Gomes, Mycogen Seeds sales representative and the presenting sponsor. “We spend a tremendous amount of time, money and effort researching the forage business.”
Bob Charley, a forage product manager of Lallemand Animal Nutrition, and a prize sponsor, said the competition is to widen the appreciation for forage.
“It’s not just chopped up and dropped in there,” Charley said. “There’s a whole emphasis in the issue of producing quality forage.”
Dan Putnam of the University of California, Davis, a forage specialist, was also on hand to speak, saying high-quality forage helps cows produce quality milk.
Lallemand Animal Nutrition North America sponsored $18,000 in contest awards and prizes.
First-place winners in all three categories received $3,000; second place winners $2,000 and $1,000 to third place.
Other Valley wins included Jake Bosma of Bosma Milk Company of Tipton with a first-place win for his brown midrib corn silage; Dino Giacomazzi of Hanford took first place for standard corn silage; and Tony Louters of Merced took third for his brown midrib corn silage.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.