The Manitoba Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives reports that hay producers in southwestern Manitoba had made good haying progress as of last week, with yields and quality generally average to above average. However, yields have been significantly reduced in stands affected by alfalfa weevils. Timothy hay production continues at a rapid pace with yields and quality above average. Pastures had deteriorated over the previous week with many showing signs of overgrazing. Dugouts have dropped significantly and are now at 50-60% of capacity.

In the northwestern part of the province, wet conditions around the Ste. Rose area slowed haying progress. There are some hay-quality issues throughout the Ste. Rose and Dauphin areas. More favorable weather conditions are required to complete the haying season in this portion of the province. Meanwhile, haying is progressing well due to warm, dry weather in central Manitoba. Second-cut regrowth looks good, and some second cutting has been started. Yields are estimated at 2-2.5 tons/acre for alfalfa and 1.5-2.5 tons/acre for alfalfa-grass mixes. Meadow fescue seed fields have been harvested in eastern Manitoba, with average yields reported. Annual and perennial ryegrass and timothy are also being swathed.

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Nebraska hay prices were steady last week, with very good demand and moderate-to-active trading. Iowa prices were mixed to lower. Inquiry was very good with moderate-to-good demand and moderate-to-active trading.

South Dakota hay prices were mixed to lower. Temperatures have moderated, but very dry conditions persist for most of the area. Straw prices were fully steady with good demand.

In Missouri, hay prices were steady with light demand and a moderate-to-light supply. The lack of moisture continued to be the talk around the state. Several farms in northern Missouri were feeding hay, as grass was nearly gone. The state has been extremely dry in some areas and other areas have been flooded, so the hay harvest has been disappointing this year. Hay was available last week, but most sellers were not wavering from asking prices and most buyers were having difficulty making the numbers work by the time freight was added. Some farmers were thinning their herds.

In southwestern Minnesota, hay prices were higher on strong sales activity. Demand was good in Illinois, too, where prices were steady to higher. Much of the price increase was for good- to premium-quality hay.

The supply of Illinois hay was moderate. For this time of the season, hay movement was above average. Demand was driven by good out-of-state interest, as well as good in-state demand from horse and dairy interests. Many producers have baled their third cutting of alfalfa and were waiting for the fourth crop.

In Wisconsin, the second alfalfa cutting continues in some areas, and the third cutting has started. Second cutting was rated as 89% complete last week, below last year's 91% at the same time, but above the five-year average of 77%. The third cutting was 11% complete. Second- and third-cutting yields were being affected by dry conditions. Some growers were hoping that last week's rains will improve yields of third-cutting hay.

University of Wisconsin forage experts are urging producers to remain vigilant for potato leafhopper threshold densities and treatment potential through August and into early fall. Routine scouting is advised as long as hot and dry conditions continue to promote rapid leafhopper development.

In the Midwest last week, prime hay at greater than 151 relative feed value (RFV)/relative forage quality (RFQ) brought an average price of $153/ton for small square bales, with a minimum price of $120/ton and a maximum of $230/ton. Large square bales averaged $145/ton, ranging from $85 to $180/ton. Prime-quality round bales averaged $110/ton, with a low of $70/ton and a high of $137.50/ton.

Small square bales of Grade I hay (125-150 RFV/RFQ) averaged $116/ton, ranging from $100 to $130/ton. Large square bales ranged from $77.50 to $120/ton, averaging $97/ton. Round bales averaged just over $78/ton, ranging from $70 to $90/ton.

Grade II hay (103-124 RFV/RFQ) averaged roughly $83/ton in small square bales, ranging from $80 to $100/ton. Large square bales averaged $87.50/ton, with a minimum price of $75/ton and a maximum of $100/ton. Large round bales ranged from $50 to $80/ton, averaging $63/ton.

Straw prices in the Midwest averaged $2.19/small square bale, $27.17/large square bale and $13.60/round bale.

Source: Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin. Contact Barnett at