U.S. hay production is up from year-ago levels, according to last week’s Crop Production report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

For alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures, NASS forecasts national production of 73 million tons in 2009, up 5% from last year’s figure. The average expected yield, at 3.48 tons/acre, is up from 3.32 tons/acre in 2008, with the majority of states showing an increase or no change. Yields are down in only six of the major alfalfa-producing states – Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Utah and Wisconsin. Harvested area is forecast at 21 million acres, 2,000 fewer than in 2008.

Other hay: Production is forecast at 79.0 million tons, up 4%. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 2.01 tons/acre, up 0.06 ton from last year’s yield. Harvested area, at 39.2 million acres, is up 113,000 acres. Higher moisture levels in the eastern U.S. and Pacific Northwest increased yields from last year’s levels. Moisture deficiencies have reduced yields in several central states, including Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.

To see the entire USDA report, click here.