U.S. hay prices increased slightly in February but are still well below year-ago levels, according to the Agricultural Prices report released by USDA Feb. 28.

The average all-hay price in February was $168/ton. That was up $3/ton from January’s average price, but down $24/ton from the February 2013 price.

Averaging $188/ton, February alfalfa hay prices were also up by $3/ton compared to the average price of a month earlier. In February 2013, the average price for alfalfa was $218/ton.

Drought-plagued California saw the steepest increase in alfalfa hay prices, from January’s $207/ton to $225 during February. Colorado, already at $225 in January, increased to $230/ton last month. Texas prices rose, comparing January to February, from $234 to $247/ton; Colorado stayed steady at $245/ton both months. A number of Midwestern states showed an average $5/ton or more drop in alfalfa prices.

California’s average all-hay price increased by $14/ton, to $216/ton. Idaho’s, Nevada’s and Texas’ all-hay average prices increased by $10/ton, to $199, $213 and $110/ton, respectively. Colorado’s all-hay price increased by $4/ton to $229/ton.

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