Types of Grass Used for Hay

By Shelley Moore; Updated April 24, 2017
Types of Grass Used for Hay

Hay refers to animal feed made of grasses or legumes that have been harvested, dried and stored for later use. People commonly feed hay to grazing animals such as cattle and horses when there is not enough pasture, as during winter, or when animals spend all their time in a barn. Many types of pasture grass can be used for hay, and hay often is a mix of different types of grasses and legumes.


Alfalfa and clover are legumes commonly included with grasses for hay. Alfalfa is the leading hay crop in most of the United States.

Brome Grass

Brome grass is widely used for hay, particularly in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Brome grass often is mixed with Timothy grass and alfalfa, especially when used for horses.


Fescue is a popular type of grass used for hay. It is an easy-to-grow, persistent plant that thrives in cool weather.

Orchard Grass

Orchard grass makes a sweet hay that animals really like, particularly when mixed with a small percentage of alfalfa.


Ryegrass is grown for silage as well as hay. A high-protein and tasty grass, it makes excellent hay for cattle and horses.


Wheatgrass is a type of grass used for hay from the northern Great Plains through eastern Washington. Because it grows well with limited water, wheatgrass is very important in dry areas.

About the Author

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.