Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes
I'm sorry I should've clarified that those values are from the NRC guidelines of products used to feed animals/horses. So, yes not all of your grass hay or alfalfa is going to be that high, but it can give you a general idea of what to expect if you're not going to test your hay and you are feeding a HIGH quality hay. And in all reality horses don't need protein that high anyways so you're just wasting it.
The only grass hay I have ever heard of that is above 12% protein is World Feeder Bermuda, which is around 15-21% protein, depending on how it's grown and when it's cut.
Common Bermuda and "local grasses" are all going to be around 10% or less. Some of the Bermuda hybrids (like the Tiftons) can get up to 12-14%, but only if they're really well fertilized and depends on when it's cut. Protein levels also go down the longer the hay producer waits between cuttings.
The "average" protein for common Bermuda grass hay is going to be 7-10%.
The average protein for hybrid or coastal Bermuda grass hay is going to be 8-15%.
Orchard Grass hay is going to be 7-10% protein.
Any 18% protein grass hay is going to be a freak of nature, and I would SERIOUSLY doubt the honesty of any hay producer that claims his grass hay is that high. 18% is what Alfalfa hay usually is.