Heavy December-through-April feeding has resulted in 5% less hay stored on farms than at this time last year despite unusually high supplies going into the winter feeding period.

In its May 11 Crop Production report, USDA estimates May 1 hay stocks at 20.9 million tons, down from 22.1 million tons on May 1, 2009. Disappearance from Dec. 1 to May 1 totaled 86.3 million tons compared with 81.6 million tons during the same period a year ago. Dec. 1, 2009, stocks were put at 107 million tons, 3% above the year-earlier figure and the highest in five years.

Among the major hay-growing states, this year’s May 1 hay stocks are significantly higher compared with 2009 numbers in Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Wyoming. Notable declines are reported for California, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.