U.S. hay growers expect to increase acreage in 2013, but not by much.

According to the Prospective Plantings report, released by USDA last Thursday, March 28, growers intend to harvest hay on 56.4 million acres this year, compared to 56.2 million acres in 2012. In 2011, hay was harvested on nearly 55.7 million acres in the U.S.

Hay acreage is expected to decline this year from last year across most of the eastern U.S., the Southwest and the Great Lakes region. Record low acreage is expected in several New England states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. California could see hay acreage drop by 6% from what it was in 2012, to 1.45 million acres.

In contrast, Montana hay acreage is expected to increase by 23%, to 2.7 million acres, in 2013. Growers in neighboring Wyoming intend to harvest one million acres this year, an increase of 14% over 2012 acreage harvested. Arkansas is expecting record-high acreage of 1.49 million acres in 2013.

You may also want to read:

Gung-Ho On Hay: Idaho Family Adds 800-Plus Alfalfa Acres

Will Low Midwestern Moisture Levels Hurt First-Cut Hay?