Seth Hoyt
Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.

Last fall it appeared that early new crop alfalfa hay prices in California in 2017 could be up $20 to $30 from a year ago. Then milk prices started dropping early this year and with the current overbase milk price in California at $14 per hundredweight, the outlook for hay prices dimmed. However, the current delivered prices on new crop alfalfa hay, much of it from the southern desert, into Tulare-Hanford dairies are $15 to $25 higher than a year ago. Even though low milk prices have reduced overall demand from dairies, lighter supplies of higher quality alfalfa hay combined with stiff competition from some export buyers in the Southern California desert for top-quality alfalfa hay, alfalfa hay prices early in the season are holding above a year ago. Additionally, with much of the early new crop alfalfa hay crop in Central California either rained on or overgrown, there will be much less higher quality alfalfa hay coming from first cutting.