Understanding Your Hay Analysis: RFV vs RFQ

by Amanda Morris, M.S.
21 June 2023 | [email protected] | 845.386.0119


Your hay analysis provides insight on the nutritional value of your forage. Sometimes we need to look at individual values to assess suitability for medical concerns. For example, an owner that has a horse with laminitic concerns will want to know the starch and sugar components of their horses diet. This is important for specific scenarios but doesn’t give us an overall picture of how “good” that forage is overall.  If you are working with a nutritionist, they will input all of the values provided from the hay analysis to balance your ration and provide feedback on how to proceed with a feeding plan. But what if you just want to know if you are feeding a quality forage?

Relative Feed Value (RFV) and Relative Feed Quality (RFQ) are two values that you may see on a hay analysis that can help provide insight to the quality of the forage being evaluated. These values are determined by going through calculations using individual values from your hay analysis. RFV utilizes dry matter intake and digestibility by considering acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) components. You will not see the full calculation outlined on a hay analysis, just a number that you can compare on chart. In general, the greater the value the better the overall quality and digestibility of the forage is being predicted. This chart is a reference to match RFV to hay quality:


Quality Standard RFV
Prime >151
1 125-150
2 103-124
3 87-102
4 75-86
5 <74

Table 1. RFV reference range (Progressive Nutrition, p.2)


RFQ follows a similar formula to RFV but considers total digestible nutrients (TDN) in its equation. By including TDN this calculation gives a better picture of the digestible fiber available in the forage compared to RFV. A reference chart, as pictured below from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will help you see where your forage falls:


Forage Quality Category  RFQ
Premium >140 
Good 110-139
Fair 90-109
Utility <90 

Table 2. RFQ reference range (Hancock, p.3)


Both RFV and RFQ are useful values on your hay analysis to give you a snapshot on the overall quality of your forage. The team at Aden Brook is well versed in navigating a variety of forages to meet each customer’s individual needs. We are experts in the forage market and look forward to working with you!



Amanda Morris is a sales broker with Aden Brook, avid equestrian, and constant learner of the horse.



Hancock, Dennis W. Info on Relative Forage Quality – UGA, georgiaforages.caes.uga.edu/content/dam/caes-subsite/forages/docs/faqs/FAQ-RFQ.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2023.

relative forage quality (usda.gov)

Why is my RFV so different from my RFQ? – Progressive Forage | Ag Proud

RFV vs. RFQ — Which is Better? (uky.edu)