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

While hot temperatures are normal for the Imperial Valley in the Southern California desert, temperatures this year reached record highs in June and July. The stress on alfalfa hay stands was evident in recent weeks as alfalfa hay stopped growing on some farms. As a result, some growers have taken measures to keep alfalfa hay stands alive rather than be concerned about production.

In an effort to help the stressed stands, alfalfa growers are not cutting hay on a normal rotation and timing irrigations to be of the most benefit to the alfalfa. An indication of the reduced alfalfa hay production in the Imperial Valley is fewer alfalfa hay sales in the past few weeks. During the week ending August 4, there were only 1,150 tons of export alfalfa hay reported that sold in the Imperial Valley compared to over 8,000 tons in early August of 2016.