Friday's USDA Crop Production report forecasts production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures at 69.9 million tons, down 2% from last year's total. Yields are expected to average 3.26 tons/acre, 0.09 ton below the 2006 yield. Harvested acreage, estimated at 21.5 million, is slightly above the 2006 figure.
Yields are expected to be down across the Corn Belt, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and the northern and central Intermountain region. Hot, dry weather has reduced yield expectations in these regions. Due to the April freeze combined with dry conditions, yields are forecast to decrease by 1 ton or more in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. They're forecast to increase across the Great Plains, Southwest, eastern Rocky Mountains, Washington, California and New York. The largest increases are expected in Texas and Oklahoma, up 1.1 tons and 1.0 ton from 2006, respectively, due to above-average rainfall.
Production of other hay is forecast at 75.3 million tons, up 8% from the 2006 number. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 1.87 tons, up 0.09 ton. The estimated 40.3 million harvested acres are up 2% from last year's figure.
The largest yield increase -- 0.9 ton -- is expected in Oklahoma, where this year's average yield is forecast at 1.9 tons. Elsewhere, yields are expected to decrease in the Southeast, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, Atlantic Coast, Oregon, Idaho and portions of the Corn Belt. The largest decrease is forecast in Pennsylvania, where yields are expected to be down 1.1 tons.