Look for alfalfa hay prices in the Midwest to stay fairly constant in coming months, largely because of sagging grain prices and plentiful supplies of alternative feeds. So says Leslie Zimmerman.

“If prices do go up, they won’t go up much,” says the hay grower and dealer, who operates Zimmerman’s Quality Hay, LLC, near Memphis, MO. He puts up 200 acres of alfalfa and mixed-grass hay as well as markets hay for growers in Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota and Wyoming. Beef feedlots, horse owners and dairies – including goat herds – utilize the hay.

“A lot of dairy farmers in our part of the country have quite a bit of corn silage. There’s also a lot of wheat straw around. If a dairy producer can get a load of wheat straw delivered in to the farm at $135-155/ton and mix in a little soybean meal, he can get the rumen scratch he’s looking for without having to spend $250-300/ton on high-quality alfalfa.”

Demand is strongest for decent, medium- to average-quality alfalfa that can be plugged into a TMR, he notes. “We’ve been selling a lot of that.”

Currently, premium alfalfa (200 RFV plus) in the states where Zimmerman buys hay is bringing $240-260/ton at the farm gate. Depending on the final destination, its delivered price into the Midwest is $315-335.

For mid- to good-quality alfalfa with 140-150 RFV and 20% protein, dairy producers are paying $170-230/ton at the farm gate, with delivered prices running $240-275. “It’s still good, soft hay. It just has some bleach to it and maybe a little stripe.”

To contact Zimmerman, call 660-216-0938 or email zimmy@nemr.net.

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