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Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa is a legume hay in the pea family and is sometimes called “lucerne”. This hay is higher in protein and minerals and is more palatable than grass hays.  Alfalfa in particular is high in energy and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.  Alfalfa is used as for horses, dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, chickens, turkeys and other farm animals.

Welcome to Winn Universal Hay 

Winn Universal carries a variety of hay products to help supply your needs. Whether you need high-quality hay or economical low-cost hay, we can help you get what you need.  We understand the importance of managing a hay business while giving your animals the nutrients they require.

The US is the largest Alfalfa producer in the world, but considerable area is found in Argentina (primarily grazed), Australia, South Africa, and the Middle East.  The leading Alfalfa growing states within the U.S.A. are California, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  The upper Midwestern states account for about 50% of US production, the Northeastern states 10%, the Western states 40%, and the Southeastern states almost none.


Its primary use is as feed for dairy cattle because of its high protein, and secondarily for beef cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Humans also eat Alfalfa in many forms and Alfalfa has been used as an herbal medicine for over 1,500 years.  Alfalfa is high in protein, calcium, plus other minerals and vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K.


Our commitment is to supply high quality Alfalfa year round, giving horses a consistent and safe supply of protein.  


Alfalfa Hay Nutritional Facts 

  • Hay is most nutritious when it is cut pre-bloom & before the seed heads are fully mature and before the stems of the plants become tough and thick.

  • Very green hay can be a good indicator of the amount of nutrients in the hay.  But, color is not the sole indicator of quality.  The smell and texture are also important.

  • Hay can be analyzed by many laboratories and that is the most reliable way to tell the nutritional values it contains.

  • Leafiness is an excellent indicator of hay quality because 60% of the TDN, 70% protein, 90%of the vitamins are found in alfalfa leaves.

  • A high percentage of leaves indicate good harvest and handling.

  • Calcium and phosphorus are needed in a specific ratio of between 1:1 and 2:1. Adult horses can tolerate up to a 5:1 ratio, foals no more than 3:1.

  • A higher ratio of phosphorus than calcium may need to be avoided.

  • Protein is a critical building block for muscles and other tissues. Protein is used in all parts of the body, especially muscle, blood, hormones, hooves and hair cells.

  • Legumes and Alfalfa are usually higher in protein, calcium, and energy than grass hays.

  • Alfalfa hay is a good source of protein that can be easily added to the diet.

  • Most adult horses only require 8 to 10% protein in their diet; however, higher protein is important for lactating mares and young growing horses and athletes.

Alfalfa Hay Harvesting and Cutting

  • Alfalfa is usually cut & baled, and harvested starting in early spring in southern states such as Arizona & usually begins in May in the Pacific Northwest states.

  • Ideally, the hay is cut just as the field is beginning to flower.

  • In areas where the Alfalfa does not immediately dry out on its own, a machine known as a mower-conditioner is used to cut the hay.

  • It is cut and naturally sun dried.  After the Alfalfa has dried, a tractor pulling a baler collects the hay into bales.

  • In most climates, alfalfa is cut three to four times a year. 

  • In Arizona & Southern California, it could be harvested up to 12 times per year.

  • Total yields are typically around 8 tons per acre, but yields have been recorded up to 16 short tons per acre.

  • Yields vary with region, weather, and the crop's stage of maturity when cut.

  • Later cuttings improve yield but reduce nutritional content.


Alfalfa Hay Bale Sizes 

  • There are several types of bales commonly used for Alfalfa.

  • For small animals and individual horses, the Alfalfa is baled into small rectangular bales & about 14 in x 18 in x 38 in. Small bales weigh from 50 – 70 pounds and can be easily hand separated into "flakes."

  • Cattle ranches use large round bales, typically 4 to 6 feet in diameter and weighing from 1000 to 2000 lb.  Half-ton and one-ton bales, in diameter of 3 x 3 x 8 weigh 900 pounds, 3 x 4 x 8 weigh 1250 pounds, and 4 x4 x 8 weigh 1800 pounds.

  • Export Hay bale weights include 30Kg, 60Kg, 120Kg, and 450Kg.

Alfalfa Hay Advantages

  • Alfalfa hay is good for the blood, hoofs, and proper bone growth.

  • Can be fed as a complete diet and is very digestible.

  • Alfalfa is recommended for horses that have a balanced exercise program due to it has an excellent source of energy.

  • It is also recommended for athletes, show horses, older horses with weight problems, and is a necessity for lactating mares and brood mares.

  • Horses always require forage. When possible, nutritionists recommend it be available at all times.

  • It is safe to feed a ration that is 100% forage.  Alfalfa has more concentrated nutrition and so is fed in smaller amounts than grass hay.  

Alfalfa Hay Not Recommend for

  • We do not recommend Alfalfa for horses that have kidney problems, are foundered, obese, or have sensitivity to high protein or calcium diets.

  • Donkeys, like mules, need less protein and more fiber than horses. They also require salt and mineral supplements, and access to clean, fresh water.  


Alfalfa Hay Grades 

  • Supreme (CP22/RFV185)

  • Premium (CP20/RFV170)

  • Good (CP18/RFV150)

  • Fair (CP18/RFV130)

  • Economy (CP16/RFV130)

  • Note:  CP means “Crude Protein” and RFV means Relative Feed Value

As one of the leading exporters of hay and straw products, Winn Universal Hay ensures top quality delivered in a timely manner. With hundreds of thousands of tons of product going out every year, our reach is global. Our Alfalfa & Timothy hay products are known throughout the world.  Producing top quality export hay is very important to us.  We start with clean fields, harvested by the most experienced producers in the region, for a premium product to export.  Our vendors and growers have the utmost pride in their industry and operate with the highest knowledge of production practices for hay and straw products.  Winn Universal Hay has only the highest standards and quality.

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