U.S. hay growers are harvesting about 2% more alfalfa acres this year than last, but other hay acreage is down by about the same percentage.

In its crop acreage report released June 30, USDA estimated that growers are harvesting 61.7 million acres of hay in 2005, slightly fewer than in 2004. Acreage of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures was put at 22.1 million, up from 21.7 million last year. All other hay was es-timated at 39.6 million acres compared with 40.2 million in 2004.

Alfalfa hay acreage is down by 50,000 acres each in Nebraska, Wis-consin and Kansas, and significant declines also are reported in California, Washington and Oregon. But, compared with last year, 300,000 more acres are being harvested in Montana, and North Dakota’s acreage is up by 50,000 acres.

The biggest decline for other hay is in Texas, which is down 500,000 acres compared with last year’s figure.