The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) recently announced a return of the Forage Masters Competition. New and improved, revamping of the competition was lead by Don Oliver, OSCIA director for the east central region.
A team effort involving input from not just OSCIA directors, members, staff, but also from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the new competition is geared to achieve four things:
- Improve forage management
- Boost the profile of forages
- Increase awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of growing forage
- Renew interest in the Forage Masters Competition
The new procedures start with the participant completing a self-assessment of their current forage management practices. Choices range from Best, to Good, to Needs Improvement. Participants only answer questions that apply to their operation, and the competition is equally open to all farm sectors that rely on forage. Only OSCIA members can participate.
There are 45 questions in all across three modules, each dealing with a different aspect of forage production: the agronomics of growing; harvesting, storage, and feeding; and finally ensiling. There are hard copies of the assessments available, with an on-line version underway (it will be available on the OSCIA website).
Participants will be asked to forward a summary of their responses, along with results of their most recent soil analysis and feed analysis to the Guelph OSCIA office, where a confidential scoring procedure will be applied. The deadline for 2017 is July 15th. An aggregate grade will be shared with the participant, and with a designated point-person for the OSCIA Region. Once the top scores are verified across the region, the first, second and third-place finishers will be notified and arrangements made to present the prizes.
The first-place finishers from each of the eleven OSCIA regions will be invited to participate in the provincial speaking competition to be held at the next OSCIA Annual Conference. This provides the opportunity to share experiences and tips with others in the farm community. Each presenter will be judged and an overall winner declared for the year.
For more details go to www.ontariosoilcrop.org and look up Membership/Forage Masters Competition.