#1 Hay: Has excellent green color and good leaf retention, no stack damage or discoloration due to moisture or heat damage.
#1.5 Hay: Will be close to #1 but may exhibit slightly less than optimum color or leaf retention. Hay must not have any damage to fall within the #1 range. Any hay in the above range must have no weeds. One additional variable within the range of 1 to 1.9 is stem size.
#2 – 2.9 Hay: Good color and no moisture damage. Hay that is stacked outside and exhibits only minor damage to top bales and bale ends can qualify for this quality grade. Hay must have less than 2% weeds to qualify for this grade. All blemishes will be noted.
#3 Hay: Must have a minimum of 50% green stripe to qualify. Hay must be baled with enough moisture to flake but not so much as to cause stack burn, minimal carmelization may be acceptable. Number 3 quality alfalfa is generally considered good range cow hay. Defects will be noted and specific grades of 3 to 3.9 will apply.
#4 Hay: This range includes grinder hay and reclamation quality forage. This may include hay that is average quality alfalfa that was baled dry or with to much moisture. A typical defect of hay that falls within this quality grade may be stack damage or discoloration. Another typical damage factor for this grade is weed concentration. Once again it is important to include defects and strong attributes to adequately describe hay that falls between 4 and 4.9.