If there’s one thing alfalfa hay growers have learned over the years, it’s that when dairies are profitable, it is easier to sell hay. That’s particularly true in a year like this when alfalfa hay supplies are down and prices are stronger than a year ago. The early estimate for the June overbase milk price in California is $15.50 per hundredweight, compared to a low in April of $13.98 and $12.92 in June of 2016. This same trend in milk prices is occurring throughout the West.
While demand for alfalfa hay from export buyers has been strong, particularly in Arizona and the early new crop market in Washington, demand from dairies in these two states has been moderate at best. While some Central California dairies are searching for tight supplies of higher quality alfalfa hay, many dairies are still resisting the current prices on Premium and Supreme quality.