Supplies of high-quality alfalfa hay in Pennsylvania are low heading into winter months. But they’re likely not low enough to move prices significantly higher in the months to come, says Marvin Hall, Penn State University Extension forage specialist. Currently, dairy-quality hay in most parts of the state is selling for just under $200/ton.

Wet weather early in the growing season helped limit production in many parts of the state during 2013. “We were able to put up a lot of hay,” says Hall. “In fact, our second cuttings in many areas yielded almost as much as our first cuttings. The problem was all the moisture we had. Getting good dry hay put up was extremely hard for most people. People who put up haylage got good stuff and lots of it.”

Dry hay quality improved after rains turned off in mid-July. “But the yields for third cutting weren’t nearly what they were in the spring. As a result, we could be a little short.”

High-quality hay, at below $200/ton, is down significantly from last February and March prices, when the market peaked at around $400/ton. “The price really hasn’t budged in the last couple of months,” says Hall. “From the reports I’ve been hearing, my thinking is that prices could go up slightly as we go through the winter. But we won’t see anywhere near the prices of a year or two ago.”

To contact Hall, call 814-863-1019 or email mhh2@psu.edu.

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