Alfalfa growers say they’re harvesting more acres this year. But the average yield will be lower than last year’s, so production will be largely unchanged.

That’s according to USDA’s August Crop Production report. In the report, USDA estimates 2001 production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures at 80.2 million tons, virtually the same as the 2000 figure. Acreage, at 23.8 million, is up 3%. But the expected average yield – 3.38 tons/acre – is down by 0.10 ton.

Production of other hay is forecast at 78.1 million tons, 9% above last year’s amount. Yields are expected to average 1.95 tons/acre, about the same as in 2000. But harvested acreage increased from 36.8 million to 40.1 million. This year’s acreage of non-alfalfa hay is the highest since 1958, says USDA.