Maine Hay Contest

Are you producing the best quality hay?

Maine Hay Contest iconMaine has more than 150 hay producers, in which the livestock, horse, and dairy industries within the state highly depend. All producers strive year after year to produce excellent quality hay, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension firmly believes these efforts should be rewarded and recognized.

The Maine Hay Contest will recognize and reward the operations that produce the highest quality hay in Maine.


  • 1st Place: $500
  • 2nd Place: $250
  • 3rd Place: $100

Winners will be awarded and recognized at the Maine Forage Conference in Waterville, Maine in November 2024.


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Contest Rules

  1. The Maine Hay Contest is open to any producer whose operation is located in Maine.
  2. Hay samples and entry forms must be postmarked by September 30. One sample per operation is allowed.
  3. A hay sample is defined as grasses and legumes or forbs cut and dried to be used as animal food. Samples with less than 70% grass or moisture greater than 20% will be disqualified.
  4. The hay producer is required to submit a completed contest entry form to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Forage Specialist Jaime Garzon, to be considered as a contest participant. The form requires the producer to provide contact information and should be e-mailed to or mailed to 5735 Hitcher Hall, Room 136, Orono, ME 04469, for later visit scheduling to the farm. An e-form entry is also available.
  5. The hay sample is collected by a county extension agent using a hay probe type recommended by the National Forage Testing Association, at the previously arranged day and time. The sample consists of six samples from three different bales (rounded or squared; two samples per bale). It is recommended that the participant have the bales identified before the arrival of the extension agent.
  6. Sample packaging and shipping will be done by the hay contest program.
  7. Forage samples must be taken from hay coming from fields with minimal maturity or re-growth of at least 25 days to ensure fair competition. Hay from fields with less than 25 days of growth will not be considered.
  8. Entries will be analyzed in an external lab and judged using NIR testing procedures. The entries will be ranked based on Relative Forage Quality (RFQ), which accounts for protein, energy, and fiber digestibility. If necessary, ties in RFQ scores will be broken based on total digestible nutrients (TDN), fibers, and crude protein values.
  9. Winners will be notified by e-mail or phone call on October 15.
  10. By 2024, the hay contest program will cover the shipping and lab analysis of 15 entries, assigned as “first come, first served.” After that, new entries will still be allowed to participate, but the participants must cover the shipping and lab analysis costs.
  11. A representative of each winning farms (farm owner, manager, family member, or designee)must be present at the award ceremony, to receive the award and prize, or they will be disqualified. The awards ceremony will take place at the Maine Forage Conference, to beheld in Waterville in early November.


For more information about sponsoring the 2024 Maine Hay Contest, please download our sponsorship information sheet (PDF).


In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, familial status, ancestry, age, disability physical or mental, genetic information, or veterans or military status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 5713 Chadbourne Hall, Room 412, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5713, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).