All-hay and alfalfa September average prices dipped modestly in USDA’s most recent Agricultural Prices report released last week. The all-hay price was $129 per ton, down $2 per ton from the previous month but $13 lower than September 2015.
The month-to-month alfalfa price dropped by $1 to $137 per ton, which is $23 per ton less than one year ago and matches the year-to-date low that was set in February. Prior to February, the last time that the monthly average price was at $137 or below was February 2011.
The USDA price averages account for all qualities of hay sold, and the final U.S. estimate is a volume-weighted average rather than a simple average of state values. Those states with the most volume sales will impact the final U.S. dollar value more than those states with fewer sales.
New York, which led alfalfa price gainers last month, had the largest price decline for September at minus $28 per ton. Other states with notable price declines included Nevada (minus $15), Michigan (minus $10), and Wyoming (minus $10). The largest price gains were in California (plus $10), Missouri (plus $10), and Ohio (plus $10).
The highest alfalfa hay prices are being reported from Kentucky ($220 per ton), New York ($188 per ton), and Pennsylvania ($186 per ton). The lowest prices can be found in Minnesota ($69 per ton), North Dakota ($73 per ton), and Nebraska ($77 per ton).
For 2016, the U.S. alfalfa average hay price started the year at $141 per ton, reached a peak of $154 per ton in May, then declined to current levels through summer and fall.