All-hay and alfalfa November hay price averages were both lower in USDA’s most recent Agricultural Prices report released last week. The all-hay price was $128 per ton, down $3 per ton from the previous month and $10 lower than November 2015. Hay other than alfalfa posted a $2 per ton gain from $121 to $123 per ton, just $1 per ton below November 2015.
The month-to-month alfalfa price dropped by $5 to $130 per ton, which is $17 per ton less than one year ago and sets a new year-to-date low. Prior to February, the last time that the monthly average price was at $130 or below was February 2011 when the average was $129 per ton.
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.
For alfalfa, Michigan and Nevada were the largest price gainers at $10 per ton. Wisconsin posted the largest decline in average price at minus $17 per ton.
The highest alfalfa hay prices are being reported from Kentucky ($225 per ton), New York ($211 per ton), and Pennsylvania ($192 per ton). The lowest prices can be found in Nebraska ($79 per ton), North Dakota ($84 per ton), and South Dakota ($92 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 the current low.