Wet weather slowed second-crop alfalfa harvest for central Pennsylvania growers, reports Mena Hautau, field crops specialist with Penn State University Extension in Berks County.

Even so, most growers weren’t complaining; the moisture spurred good third-crop growth.

“We had an excellent first cutting and most people were able to get their hay up in a timely fashion,” she says. “Second crop was a different story. We had lots of fronts moving through from the south and the west. We had a lot of rain, a lot of humidity and some extremely high temperatures. It wasn’t ideal haymaking weather.

“People have had to manage around the wet weather, but they’d rather have that than another drought. In general, we’re thankful.”

But plentiful-looking supplies may have caused prices to drop off from last winter’s extreme highs. As of mid-July at local hay auctions, dairy-quality alfalfa was bringing $210-220/ton and alfalfa-grass hay, $260-280/ton. Last winter, prices in the area topped out at $300/ton. “So the prices are off some,” she says. “But if you produce high-quality hay, you can still get a very good price.”

To contact Hautau, call 610-378-1327 or email mmh10@psu.edu.

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