Although prices are still a guess, the 2014 alfalfa crop is off to a good start at David Hinman’s Hardrock Farms near Wheatland, WY.

“We’re probably two weeks ahead of normal,” says Hinman, who puts up alfalfa in large and small square bales on 700 irrigated acres. “We’ve had some warm weather in recent weeks with a few days of 80 degrees and a lot of 70-degree days. At night, we’ve been in the 40s and 50s. It’s been pretty good growing weather for alfalfa.

“A lot of the alfalfa is 8-9” tall already. If it doesn’t get cut back with a hard frost, we should have an early first cutting.”

He looks for this year’s prices to be comparable or maybe increase slightly from 2013 totals. “The market is kind of nervous right now,” he says. “Nobody seems to want to talk about a price for new crop yet. But with a drought in California and Texas, supplies could be tight. That should keep prices up there.”

Hinman largely sells to dairies in Iowa and Wisconsin, but also to Wyoming beef ranches and Colorado horse owners. Through the winter months, the at-the-stack price for dairy-quality alfalfa was in the $225-240/ton range.

“The real good hay was in short supply. We had a lot of wet weather last summer that ruined some of the crop.”

To contact Hinman, call 307-331-0410 or email hardrock@dishmail.net.