Midwestern hay sales activity ranged from light to good last week, according to Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin. In Nebraska, demand was moderate to good and prices steady. Cold temperatures have hindered grass growth in the state. Winterkill has not been a major issue, but the loss of acres is a major concern, says Barnett.

Iowa hay prices were higher than in recent weeks on light sales activity. Inventories were nearly depleted, with moderate-to-good demand. Winterkill has caused problems for some Iowa growers.

Prices were steady in Missouri, where many growers still have water standing in areas where it usually doesn’t accumulate. A small number of growers in far southeastern Missouri started harvesting first-cutting alfalfa. Alfalfa weevils have been out in full force with the warm weather. Barnett says if growers haven’t already discovered the problem, it may be too late to spray in some areas.

Prices were steady in Illinois, too. The alfalfa crop has started the season in good shape. The Illinois Weather and Crops Report places 62% of the state’s alfalfa and 74% of its red clover in good-to-excellent condition. Many growers expected to take first alfalfa cuttings last week, but wet weather delayed their plans.

Prime hay in the Midwest at greater than 151 relative feed value (RFV)/relative forage quality (RFQ) averaged $206.66/ton in small square bales, ranging from $132.50 to $380/ton. In large square bales, prime hay averaged $170.32/ton, ranging from $95 to $245/ton, and round bales peaked at $180/ton and bottomed at $75/ton, averaging $125.92.

Grade 1 hay (125-150 RFV/RFQ) sold for an average price of $186.56/ton in small square bales, ranging from $120 to $250/ton. Large square bales averaged $153.72/ton with a $120/ton bottom and a $175.33/ton peak. Round bales averaged $116.88/ton, ranging from $80 to $155.88/ton.

Grade 2 hay (103-124 RFV/RFQ) averaged $128.75/ton in small square bales, ranging from $80 to $160/ton. Large square bales averaged $126.43/ton, with a $100/ton minimum price and a $146.19/ton peak. Large round bales of Grade 2 hay averaged $106.48/ton, ranging from $60 to $144.44/ton.

Straw averaged $2.39/small square bale, $36.88/large square bale and $30.42/round bale.


Decent winter moisture may give Tennessee hay growers better production this year, says Gary Bates, University of Tennessee extension forage specialist. “The cool-season grasses are starting to head out and some hay may be cut soon,” he says. “I think a high number of people are planning to plant some of the summer grasses that can tolerate drier conditions, such as sudex, pearl millet and teff.”

Last year’s drought thinned stands in some areas. “We had to bring a lot of hay into the state, plus people cut cow numbers to get by,” Bates says. “I expect people are going to want to go into winter with as much hay as possible this year, so I am not expecting a reduction in hay acres.”

Contact Bates at 865-974-7208.