Hay stocks on all U.S. farms totaled 90.7 million tons as of Dec. 1, down 11% from the year-earlier figure and the lowest Dec. 1 stocks since 1988, according to a USDA Crop Production report released this morning.
Disappearance from May 1through Dec. 1, 2011, totaled 62.6 million tons, compared with 64.4 million tons for the same period in 2010. The report notes that hay stocks decreased across much of the nation’s midsection. Most of the decreases were the result of an unusually dry year that negatively impacted hay production as well as pasture and rangeland. In Texas and Oklahoma, two states hit hard by prolonged drought in 2011, hay stocks were at their lowest levels since 1985.
In a separate report, also released this morning, USDA estimated total 2011 production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures at 65.3 million tons. That’s 1% more than was forecast on Oct. 1, but 4% less than in 2010 and the lowest production level since 1959. U.S. growers harvested 19.2 million acres in 2011, 4% fewer than the previous year and the smallest harvested-acreage total since 1949.
For all other hay, USDA reported that U.S. production totaled 65.8 million tons in 2011, down 15% from the previous year’s number. Harvested area for the all-other-hay category totaled 36.4 million acres, down 9% from the 2010 figure and the lowest harvested acreage since 1998.