Stocks of all hay stored on farms totaled 22.1 million tons on May 1, up 2% from those of a year ago, according to a USDA report last week. USDA also reports that hay disappearance from Dec. 1, 2008, to May 1, 2009, totaled 81.6 million tons compared with 82.5 million tons for the same period a year earlier.

Hay stocks decreased from last year’s levels across most of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states. Texas and Oklahoma had the largest decreases due in part to lower hay production last year. Dry weather last fall and winter resulted in poor pasture conditions that increased supplemental hay feeding. Hay stocks also declined significantly in North Dakota and Montana due to a combination of lower 2008 production and spring snow storms that prolonged the hay feeding season.

In the eastern U.S., higher production, mild winter weather, increased precipitation and lower cattle inventories led to higher May 1 stocks. Tennessee registered the largest increase – 157% higher than that of a year earlier. In Alabama and Kentucky, stocks were up 150% from those in May 2008. On the other end of the country, stocks in many Western states were higher due mostly to demand decreases in California, Oregon and Washington.

To see the numbers for individual states, click here.