Alfalfa hay prices have likely reached their peak in Idaho, at least for the time being, says Will Ricks of RIC Farms near Monteview. Come next spring, though, prices could resume their climb.

“Supplies are pretty short,” says Ricks, who puts up 3 x 4 x 8’ bales marketed to dairies in southern Idaho. “I’ve heard from a lot of other growers who say they’re completely sold out or just about sold out. We’re down to our last 300-400 tons here. When we get to March or April, prices could start going up a little.”

Currently, good alfalfa hay is bringing around $220-240/ton at the stack, reports Ricks, also vice president of the Idaho Hay and Forage Association. Feeder hay is fetching $180-200/ton.

A big question for next year revolves around just how many acres in the region will be put back into hay production. Ricks plans to increase his alfalfa acreage by as much as 30%. “But that has as much to do with our rotation as anything else. I have heard a lot of other people talking about increasing their hay acres, though. The price is fairly attractive.”

On the flip side, hay must still compete with wheat and other crops for acreage. “If we get to spring and people can get a good wheat or barley contract locked in, there won’t be as many hay acres coming back. Those crops are just easier to manage than hay.”

To contact Ricks, call 208-390-5012 or email w.ricks@yahoo.com.