A season-long drought has severely crimped 2013 alfalfa production in central Nevada, reports hay broker and producer Dan Knisley, of County Equipment Hay Division in Lovelock.

“Most of the alfalfa fields in our area have burned up,” he says. “It’s all surface irrigation here. Our water allotments this year are just 10% of what they’d normally be.”

Knisley typically devotes 1,900 acres to alfalfa on his Great Basin Farms. Exporting firms and dairies in Nevada and California are the major buyers for hay in the Lovelock-Fallon-Winnemucca area he services. “This year, we only had enough water to farm about 600 acres. Our overall production is off by 60-70%. It was just too dry. The water never came, and the alfalfa never grew.”

Prices for what alfalfa is available in the region have remained strong. Top-quality dairy hay there is bringing $210-240/ton, about the same as it was this time last year. Depending on quality, feeder- and export-type hay sells for around $185-205/ton, down by $15/ton from prices of a year ago.

To contact Knisley, call 775-273-1177 or email countryeq@gbis.com.

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