Producers paid about $10/ton less for prime-quality small square hay bales sold the week of Sept. 21 compared to the average $233/ton price reported the week before. So says Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin Extension educator and author of the Weekly Hay Market Demand And Price Report For The Upper Midwest.

Prime-quality large square bales – at relative feed value (RFV) or relative forage quality (RFQ) of 151 or greater – averaged $253/ton. That’s $6/ton less than the average price recorded Sept. 14. Prime large round bale prices were steady at $232/ton. Sales activity was moderate to active.

Grade 1 hay, at an RFV/RFQ of 125-150, sold for $150/ton for small squares, $190/ton for large squares and $149 for large rounds. Grade 2 hay, at 103-124 RFV/RFQ, averaged $134/ton for large squares and $114/ton for large rounds. There were no reported sales for small squares in that quality range.

Most Nebraska alfalfa is going to dairies in or out of the state, and some beef producers are turning to cornstalks. “There will be a lot of cornstalks or bean stubble baled this fall,” Barnett reports. Some alfalfa producers were on sixth cutting last week. Quite a lot of hay is being imported from surrounding states and Canada.

In Iowa, hay prices were steady and buyer inquiry was light. Buyers are showing some resistance at current price levels.

Although South Dakota hay prices were higher, a moisture deficit has producers concerned about next year’s production, especially if the state experiences another winter of below-average snowfall.

Alfalfa hay prices were steady, supplies were light and demand was very good in Missouri. Recent rains have helped grasses grow once again. Water supplies, however, are still lacking tremendously. Many farmers are struggling to find hay supplies for the coming winter feeding season.

The demand for Illinois hay was mostly moderate to good, with moderate-to-active sales activity. Prices were lower and offerings moderate.

In southwestern Minnesota, hay prices were higher with moderate sales activity.

Nearly 90% of fourth-cutting hay has been harvested and 17% of fifth cutting in Wisconsin, hit by drought in its southern half. Market reporters commented that fifth crop was being taken wherever possible due to feed shortages, Barnett says.

Due to the drought emergency and the lack of quality-tested hay auctions in Wisconsin, Barnett provided four links to help producers obtain state prices. They are: the Equity Cooperative market report (go to Lomira and Reedsville locations), the Fennimore Livestock Exchange, the Reynolds Feed & Supply, LLC, and the Tim Slack Auction and Realty, LLC.

Straw prices in the Midwest averaged $3.53 per small square bale, $36.51 per large square bale and $42 per large round bale.