The prospect of alfalfa winterkill in parts of the Midwest is likely to help keep alfalfa markets there steady or grow stronger in the months ahead, says Murdock, NE, hay grower Andy Stock.

“In our area, we’ve had a lot of extremely cold temperatures without much in the way of snow cover for a big part of the winter,” he says. “If it turns out that a big area has been impacted, we should see prices turn up a bit once we get into the spring.”

Growing optimism among dairy producers, due largely to strong milk prices, could also give alfalfa prices a boost, says Stock, past president of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.).

“Over the past couple of years, a lot of people were talking about retiring or getting ready to retire from the dairy business. Now, you’re hearing more people talking about expanding and building new facilities. It’s been quite a turnaround.”

At this point, he’ll keep his hay priced at around $1.30-1.40 per point of relative feed value, down about 10 cents/point from his prices of a year ago. Stock grows alfalfa on 300-400 acres and grass hay on 50-100 acres.

“Demand was pretty sluggish through the fall, but it’s been picking up a bit since the first of the year.  There’s still a shortage of that good-quality hay.”

To contact Stock, call 402-499-5004 or email andy@stockhay.com.

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