Supplies of dairy-quality hay are dwindling in many Western states, says Utah producer-dealer Von Mason. As a result, prices are likely to remain strong in the months to come.
Forage industry experts estimate that lower grain prices will put downward pressure on hay markets in the months to come. Hay dealer-producer Von Mason, of Ten Plus Hay Co. in Dammeron, UT, isn’t so sure.
“With corn (prices) coming down, dairy farmers will have some more money to spend on good-quality hay. And right now, there’s just no inventory of hay, especially premium, dairy-quality hay, to be had anywhere.”
Along with putting up alfalfa hay on 3,700 acres, Mason buys from growers in Utah, Idaho and Nevada. He sells to large dairies in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the Clovis-Portales region of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. He also markets, directly and through export firms, to dairies in China and the Middle East.
Western U.S. dairy producers he deals with typically begin writing contracts for first-crop hay during winter months. Last year, the going contract price for first-crop alfalfa delivered into California was around $265/ton. “This year, I’m looking for that same hay to be bringing at least $10/ton more. It’s not going to go down.”
Strong hay prices of the last several years will also likely come into play. “Most growers have made a little money in the last couple of years,” Mason says. “They don’t need the money, so they’re going to be inclined to gamble and hold the line on price.”
To contact Mason, call 435-691-1954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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