USDA has adjusted its forecast for 2009 hay production. According to the department’s October Crop Production report issued last Friday, production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures will total 72 million tons. That’s down 1.4% from the August forecast but up 3.4% from 2008 production.

Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 3.43 tons/acre this year, down 0.05 ton/acre from August but up 0.11 ton from the 2008 figure. Compared to August, yield forecasts were up in eight of the major alfalfa-producing states: Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. The largest October vs. August yield increase is forecast in Pennsylvania, where growers are expecting a record-high average yield of 3.7 tons/acre.

For other hay, USDA is now forecasting production of 80.8 million tons, up 2% from the August forecast and 6% from last year’s number. Yields are expected to average 2.06 tons/acre, up 0.05 ton from August and 0.11 ton from the final 2008 figure.

To see the entire Oct. 9 report, click here.