Protein in Hay and Pasture

The protein levels in hay and pasture vary greatly depending on species of plant, stage of growth, and time of year. It is always best to get your hay and pasture tested so you can determine exactly how much protein it is providing. However, there are some general rules you can use to give you an estimation of protein content.

Legume hays (alfalfa and clover) contain 12% to 20% protein

Grass hays contain 6% to 10% protein

Fresh spring pasture contains 23% to 28% protein

Fall pastures contain 14% to 18% protein

Unsure where to get your forages tested? Contact your local cooperative extension or visit Equi-analytical Laboratories: Forage and feed testing services at


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