The nationwide average price paid for hay hit $96.30/ton last month, USDA reports. That’s slightly higher than the prior month’s average price for all hay, and $16.10 above the July 2000 price.

On average, alfalfa hay sold for $105/ton in July, says USDA. Among the 27 states reporting alfalfa sales, the highest price was in Texas – $132/ton. New York was close behind, at $130/ton, followed by Idaho ($125), New Mexico ($121), Washington ($120) and Pennsylvania ($119).

The lowest reported alfalfa prices came from North Dakota and Wisconsin, at $49 and $50/ton, respectively.

The price gains are happening despite the fact that growers say they’re harvesting more acres this year. In late June, USDA reported total planned harvested hay acreage at just under 64 million. That’s roughly a 7% increase over last year’s number.

The biggest increases are in Texas (1.3 million more acres) and Kansas (500,000 more).

According to USDA, growers say they’re harvesting about 3% more acres of alfalfa hay in 2001 than in 2000.