Alfalfa hay prices 2019

Alfalfa hay prices 2019 DEFAULT

It’s back up the price ladder for alfalfa

Alfalfa average hay prices for September bucked its previous three-month downward trend to climb by $2 per ton.

The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $ per ton, which was also $2 per ton above one year ago. The average price for alfalfa hay still stands at $23 per ton below its high of $ during May.

Only Oklahoma had a significant alfalfa price gain (plus $45 per ton) for September, although many states had small price increases.

Price decliners were less numerous and led by New York (down $27 per ton) and New Mexico (down $10).

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Colorado ($ per ton), New Mexico ($), and Kentucky ($).

The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($90 per ton), South Dakota ($), and Nebraska ($).

Keep in mind that the USDA average prices account for all qualities of hay sold. Also, the final U.S. estimate is a volume-weighted average rather than a simple average of state values. Those states with the most volume sales will impact the final U.S. dollar value more than those states with fewer sales.

The USDA now tracks the prices of Premium and Supreme quality hay in the major dairy states and determines an average price from the five leading milk-producing states. This data is being used to determine feed prices in the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For September, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay dropped by $4 from August to $ per ton. Only Michigan and Texas posted higher prices for Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay. For unknown reasons, New York’s average price dropped by $46 per ton to $

Other hay

The September average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) dropped to $ per ton. This value is $7 per ton lower than the previous month and $15 per ton below one year ago. It was the fourth consecutive month that the other hay price dropped compared to the previous month. In May, it had reached a peak of $ per ton.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($ per ton), Arizona ($), New Mexico ($), and Oregon ($).

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($67 per ton), South Dakota ($74), and Minnesota ($86).


The average alfalfa hay price during August hiked to $ per ton, which was the highest monthly average since August Not only was the August price historically high, but it also came during a t

Below are examples of alfalfa and grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which are indicated by a "d" in the table below) for selected stat

Hay prices typically don’t trend higher in the middle of summer, but that’s exactly what is happening in The average price of U.S. alfalfa hay in July rose another $2 per ton, according to U

Below are examples of alfalfa and grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which are indicated by a "d" in the table below) for selected states at the

Below are examples of alfalfa and grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which are indicated by a "d" in the table below) for selected states at the e

Below are examples of alfalfa and grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which are indicated by a "d" in the table below) for selected states at the end
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Michigan hay supplies and prices for the spring season

Livestock owners looking for hay in the next couple of months should be thinking about where to find hay to fill their needs. Depending on what type of livestock you have, there may be a challenge to finding the quality of hay you need. If you are looking for high quality hay, there is very little to be found. Lower quality hays are available and the prices are reflecting the good supply and demand. In the last 18 months, hay stocks were 30% lower from May to May Year-end stocks rebounded slightly according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Production Report published in December With the very wet spring and fall in , good quality forage was hard to produce as dry hay supplies remained much below the supply from several years ago.

A short survey of the Michigan Hay Council board of directors about statewide hay prices and supplies reinforced the information from the USDA NASS Agriculture Prices for February hay, alfalfa and all hay, released on March 31, Prices are higher than a year ago in Michigan for all hay types. The prices for high quality alfalfa hay average near $ per dry matter (DM) ton with very little supply available. Other hay types (e.g., alfalfa/grass, straw and grass hay with lower quality are available in all bale sizes and types and range from $ to $ per DM ton. The prices vary based on availability, location, quality, bale type and cutting.

For those buying or selling hay, the Michigan Hay Listing Network provides a free place for sellers of hay to advertise their forages for sale. Forages listed may be dry hay, haylage, alfalfa/grass hay, grass, straw and corn silage. Forms of hay include small square bales, large square bales, round bales and ensiled forages such as baleage (Fig. 1). The website is a cooperative effort between the Michigan Forage Council, Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University Extension. Each listing can be listed for four months. Information on cutting, storage, price and available transportation are all listed on the website.

Screenshot of Michigan Hay Listing Network

For more information, contact MSU Extension educator Phil Kaatz at [email protected] or

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call MSUE4MI ().

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Forage Market Insights: A first look at harvest estimates

October brought the USDA’s first harvest estimates for the haying season. Highlighting numbers of note, U.S. acreage devoted to alfalfa and alfalfa mixture hay continued a long-term trend lower, while average yields of other hay maintained a small but steady increase.

Based on the USDA’s Crop Production report released Oct. 9, production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay for was forecast at million tons, down 4% from As of Oct. 1, yields were expected to average tons per acre, down ton from last year. Harvested area was forecast at million acres, down 2% from and the smallest alfalfa and alfalfa mixture hay area since

Production of other hay for was forecast at million tons, up 1% from Based on conditions as of Oct. 1, the U.S. yield was expected to average tons per acre, the second-highest yield on record (behind only ). Harvested area is forecast at 36 million acres, up 1% from

For additional information on USDA’s hay acreage, yield and production estimates, read:  dry hay harvest a mixed bag.

Drought areas worrisome

Meanwhile, moisture conditions in major hay-producing areas continue to worsen. Based on USDA Drought Monitor maps as of Oct. 6, about 31% of U.S. hay-producing acreage (Figure 1) was considered under drought conditions, a 7% increase from the first week in September and equaling levels seen in the fall of

The news was worse for alfalfa: At 47%, alfalfa-producing areas affected by drought increased 12% from early September (Figure 2) and are the highest since the first quarter of

hay drought

alfalfa drought

Hay prices mapped

The USDA’s Ag Prices report indicates the national average price for all alfalfa hay fell to a nine-month low in August. At $ per ton, it was down $2 from July. The U.S. average for other hay was unchanged; at $ per ton, it equaled a month high set last November.

The price data for 27 major hay-producing states is mapped in Figure 3, illustrating the most recent monthly average price and one-month change. The lag in USDA price reports and price averaging across several quality grades of hay may not always capture current markets, so check individual market reports elsewhere in Progressive Forage.

hay prices

Click here or on the map above to view it at full size in a new window.

Among the 27 states reporting alfalfa prices, 13 saw price increases in August, while seven posted small declines. Biggest increases from the previous month were in Texas, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Prices averaged more than $ per ton in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, Kentucky, Ohio and Oregon, but $ per ton or less in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Other hay
Prior to the previous month, August prices rose in 13 states, led by Idaho and Wyoming, and declined in seven, led by Kansas, Washington and Oregon. Average prices were $ per ton or higher in Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Dairy hay
The average price for Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay in the top milk-producing states averaged $ per ton in August, unchanged from July (Table 1) and equaling lowest since the USDA began compiling “dairy hay” price data to start

dairy hay prices

Organic hay
The USDA’s Organic Hay price report summarized f.o.b. farm gate prices for the two-week period ending Oct. 7. All averages are for large square bales. High-testing Supreme alfalfa topped the market at $ per ton, while other Supreme alfalfa sold in a range of $$ per ton, averaging $ per ton. Premium alfalfa sold in a range of $$, averaging $ per ton, and Good alfalfa sold in a wider range, $$, averaging $ per ton. Finally, Premium sudan averaged $ per ton.

Exports of U.S. hay continued lower

As the harvest seasons winds down, U.S. exports of hay continue to be hampered by several factors, noted Christy Mastin, sales representative with Eckenberg Farms, Mattawa, Washington.

Due to expectations of travel restrictions to view new-crop hay and anticipated shipping challenges, many buyers bought earlier in year to the point of being overstocked.

Vessel schedules still have issues with delays, but the reason has changed from a lack of ships to one of port overcrowding. As those supply chain conditions improve, September-October exports should increase to more normal levels, Mastin said.

Foreign competition is also factor. Based on supply and price, European alfalfa, Canadian timothy and Australian oaten hay are appealing alternatives.

On a positive note, the exemption of a tariff on alfalfa and alfalfa-related products shipped to China has been extended for another year, through mid-September of

Looking at the numbers, August U.S. exports of other hay fell to 93, metric tons (MT), dipping below , MT for the first time since August and the lowest total for any month since July Sales to four of the five leading markets – Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China – were down from July, with only the United Arab Emirates (UAE) posting a small increase.

Meanwhile, at , MT, August exports of alfalfa hay hit a six-month low and were down about 78, MT from April’s peak. China remained the biggest alfalfa customer purchasing , MT in August, about 52% of all alfalfa hay exports for the month. Sales to South Korea and the UAE were steady with July, but sales to Saudi Arabia and Taiwan were lower.

Regional markets

Here’s a snapshot of conditions and markets during the first week of October:

  • Midwest: In Missouri, hay movement was limited, demand was light, supplies were heavy and prices were steady to firm.

In Iowa, fieldwork limited sales activity. There was interest in medium- to better-quality alfalfa. Grass quality was good overall and the lower-end grass also sold well.

In Kansas, hay movement increased slightly but remained sluggish; prices remained steady for all hay types in all regions.

In Nebraska, central grass hay and western large squares of alfalfa sold steady on good demand. Hay was moving out of state. Cattle producers, backgrounders and feedlots started to buy some loads as they prepare for winter feeding needs. Most local customers have an easy time finding trucks to haul hay.

In Michigan, late-season alfalfa is reportedly high quality and yielding well.

In South Dakota, quality of fourth cutting of alfalfa was aided by good drying weather, although yield was lower. Alfalfa hay sold mostly steady on few reported transactions. Demand for high-quality dairy hay remained good.

In Wisconsin, dairy-quality hay remained in demand and prices were steady, with pressure to reduce prices. Lower-quality hay prices and demand were declining.

  • Southwest: In Texas, hay prices were mostly steady to firm. Supplies were tightening, especially in the Panhandle, north and western regions where precipitation and the influx of hay from drought-stricken states were shortening.

In California, wildfires continued to hamper air quality and hay drying conditions. Demand and prices were steady.

In Oklahoma, hay trade activity was light as beef producers hoped for an extended grazing season. Many producers are looking for alternative feedstuffs.

In New Mexico, alfalfa hay prices were steady to $10 higher; demand was moderate to good.

  • Northwest: In Wyoming, hay and sun-cured alfalfa pellets sold steady; demand was good.

In Montana, hay and sun-cured alfalfa pellets sold steady. Demand was good.

In Idaho, trade remained slow as the haying season came to an end. Demand remains good as remaining supplies are in firm hands. Stimulus checks have been going out to help businesses.

In Colorado, trade activity and demand was moderate to good for most types of hay.

In the Washington-Oregon Columbia Basin, export, domestic and retail feed store alfalfa sold steady in a light test. Trade remained slow with light-to-moderate demand as major exporters were reportedly dumping product in order to secure market share. Quality is also affecting movement as most hay supplies suffer from smoke or range damage. Quality supplies remained hard to secure.

The Northwest Farm Credit Services’ quarterly Hay Market Snapshot offered a varied month outlook for regional hay producers. Individual producer profitability will be heavily dependent on the quality of hay harvested. Depending on location, the haying season was a bit of a roller coaster, with first-crop hay harvest negatively affected by wet conditions, followed by more favorable conditions during subsequent cuttings. Then, wildfire smoke slowed hay drying conditions in mid-September. As mentioned above, widespread Western drought hampered dryland hay production.

  • East: In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixes sold higher. Buyer demand was moderate with a moderate supply. In Leola, alfalfa sold weaker but orchardgrass sold stronger on a light comparison.

In Alabama, early October hay prices were steady with moderate supply and demand.

Other things we’re seeing

  • Dairy. The government-fueled roller coaster ride continues. Boosting dairy farmer gross income, a second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will pay dairy farmers $ per hundredweight (cwt) on all milk produced during the final nine months of the year.

The USDA also announced the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program contracts in mid-September, sending block cheddar cheese prices and Class III milk future prices higher. That creates another Class I base-Class III price inversion in October and widens the gap between Class III-Class IV prices. As a result, the incentive for Federal Milk Marketing Order depooling increases, and negative producer price differentials will impact milk checks for some dairy producers.

  • Alfalfa and CFAP 2. As part of CFAP 2, alfalfa growers are eligible for direct payments equal to $15 per acre. All other hay, including crops intended for grazing, are not eligible for payments. Producers must apply for CFAP 2 payments at USDA Farm Service Agency offices by Dec. 11,   end mark
Dave Natzke

Hay prices 2019 alfalfa

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