Kentucky Proud

Forage Testing Program

Forage Testing Program - (502) 782-9210


ATTENTION:  In March of 2017, a hay hotline user alerted KDA that an individual contacted them with a fraudulent request to purchase hay.  The individual posing as a hay buyer attempted a check cashing scheme.  Please remember to use caution when responding to any inquiries.


Testing your hay/haylages
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture offers a forage testing service which provides nutritional value information. This service is eligible for Kentucky Producers only. If you grow hay or buy hay and live in Kentucky you are qualified for this service. A KDA staff member will take sample(s) of hay and/or haylage at the farm and analyze them in the KDA Forage Laboratory located in Frankfort. Tested forages can mean higher profit, whether feeding cattle, horses, goats, sheep or other livestock. By knowing the nutritional value, you can minimize your cost and maximize your production.

Forage testing helps to determine fair market value and an equitable price. By keeping a forage journal, testing helps in comparing forage quality year-to-year.

Healthy livestock are profitable livestock! By knowing what you need to feed you can save money and promote the health and wellbeing of your livestock. Hay is a viable food source; if you have good hay you can cut back on your supplement therefore a cost saving measure. Fat livestock is not healthy livestock.Kentucky Farm Bureau Farm Vehicle Regulations

The Department charges a $10 fee per lot (same field same cutting) for the service. The producer receives an analysis of the forage's nutritional value and an "Interpreting Forage Quality Report" guide.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Forage Testing Program follows standards outlined by the National Forage Testing Association (NFTA). Your local Extension Agent can assist you with your winter feed ration.

Livestock farmers who need hay can find it right here in Kentucky. Listings can be found on this page.

Listing your hay for sale

If a Producer has Kentucky Produced Hay and has it tested by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and would like to sell it, KDA will list it at no charge on the For Sale Web Page. A KDA staff member will make a visual evaluation of the forage to use in the listing on the Hay Sales Directory page.

Forage testing helps to determine fair market value and an equitable price. Listings on the Hay Sales Directory page are designed to support or consumers and producers. The analysis can be sorted by any combination of county, relative feed value (RFV), bale size and type of hay. Each listing describes a lot's type, cutting date, cutting number, bale size and weight, color, odor, RFV and other characteristics.

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Why test your hay?
Test your hay to help make your operation more profitable.
  • Balancing Livestock Rations - By testing hay and using the analysis, producers can balance feed rations for their livestock.
  • Each livestock takes a different energy level at different stages of their lives. A ration balance will help maintain a healthy diet.
  • This enables them to use available feed sources to formulate and feed the most economical ration.
  • Contact your local county agent for assistance in formulating the most economical ration from available feed sources. This program is a joint effort with the University of Kentucky's Cooperative Extension Service.
  • Buying or Selling Hay - The Forage Testing Program maintains a list of Kentucky hay producers. The service is offered throughout the state and the information may be viewed at the following web site: A trained field inspector will take several probes that are analyzed for Protein, Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN), and Relative Feed Value (RFV) . Hay may also be listed for sale on our web site.
  • Know Your Hay's True Value - By testing, an individual can determine the quality of the hay. This information may be used to evaluate and improve forage management practices and determine least-cost measures.

Sampling your hay

If you are a Kentucky Producer / Consumer and would like to pull your forage sample and have it tested by KDA for the nutritional and energy levels. Hay Sample Request Form (HayReq812)

Please print of the Hay Sample Request Form and attach it to each sample submitted for testing. Please make sure you send an adequate amount of forage when submitting your sample. How To Take A Good Hay Sample

Submit a check or money order made out to: Kentucky State Treasury, (we do not accept cash), at the time you submit your sample(s) along with your form(s) to:
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Forage Testing Program
107 Corporate Drive
Frankfort KY 40601

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What is an analysis report and what do I do with it?
When I get my analysis report back what do I do with it? What do all the abbreviations mean; they look Greek to me? Here is the "Interpreting Forage Quality Reports" guide. This will help you to understand what NDF, TDN and the other abbreviations mean and what to look for. Use this report and contact your Extension Agent, he/she will assist you with your livestock ration balance. Another helpful booklet is Understanding Forage Quality.

Mobile Forage Testing Units
Please contact KDA staff to make appointments for the Forage Testing Van and the Mobile Forage Unit for educational purposes. The Van and Mobile unit can be booked for hay contests, fairs, field days, conferences ect. All Van and Mobile unit appointments are made via email.