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What to buy and when to buy it - General guidelines for the consumer

As a general rule, alfalfa is best suited for dairy use between the months of September and May. During these months, the alfalfa is at its peak protein and digestible nutrient levels, thus making it too rich for horses.

The best time to purchase hay for horses is from June through August. The protein levels have dropped due to the hot weather, and these are the heaviest yielding months for the alfalfa harvest. Historically, for both price and quality suited to horses, these are your best months to buy.

Bermuda Hay
Due its digestive qualities and lower protein when compared to alfalfa, it has become a suggested alternative to feeding alfalfa by many veterinarians around the State of Arizona, depending on the needs of the particular animal, of course. It is produced during the hot summer months and early fall. Look for your best buys between the months of June-August.

Oat Hay
Oat hay is only produced in the early months of the harvest cycle, particularly February-April, and sometimes May, and can get quite costly, depending on availability. Used as a feed for dairy and beef cattle.

Sudan Hay
Typically harvested in the months between June-September, this product is ideal for feeding beef cattle, particularly calves. It is generally less expensive than alfalfa, but also much lower on protein. Sudan is very high on fiber and is heavily exported to Japan for this particular quality.

Timothy Hay
This product is very similar to bermuda hay in its protein levels and feed qualities. It commonly grown in Colorado and is quite expensive when compared to bermuda hay.