The possibility that 2014 will bring another dry growing season throughout Nebraska has many hay growers there reluctant to clear out remaining hay inventories. So reports Barb Kinnan, executive director of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.).

“If people have carryover, they don’t seem to be very concerned about moving it right now,” says Kinnan. “They’re more concerned that hay might not be available this coming year because of the drought. They’re willing to sit on it until they see what develops.”

The April 15 U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that roughly three quarters of the state is experiencing abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions. “For many areas, it’s something that’s been ongoing for several years,” Kinnan says.

Even with the concerns about coming production levels, overall hay prices in the state are on the soft side compared to those of a year ago. Grass hay that sold for $200-230/ton last summer is currently bringing $100-150/ton.

“The price has come off significantly, especially for the lower-quality hay,” she says. “There’s still a lot of it out there.”

Dairy alfalfa is a tougher find, but prices still lag year-ago levels. “It seems like there’s never enough of the good-quality dairy hay around. Right now, it’s selling for $200-270/ton at the farm. A year ago, a lot of it was selling for $300/ton or more.”

To contact Kinnan, call 800-743-1649 or email barb@nebraska-alfalfa.com.