The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that acres of alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures in the U.S. declined by 108,000 from 2014 to 2015. The August 1 forecast pegs current alfalfa acres at nearly 18.34 million.
The largest year-to-year decline occurred in Missouri where acreage dropped by 25 percent from 280,000 to 210,000. Other states with significant acreage reductions occurred in Idaho (60,000), California (55,000), Ohio (50,000) and Minnesota (50,000).
States with the largest alfalfa acreage increases included New York (70,000), Michigan (60,000), Wisconsin (50,000), Montana (50,000) and Kansas (50,000).
The top total alfalfa or alfalfa-grass acreage states are Montana (1.9 million acres), South Dakota (1.9 million acres), North Dakota (1.6 million acres), Wisconsin (1.3 million acres) and Minnesota (1.05 million acres). The complete NASS August Crop Production report (acres and production) can be viewed here.
Land value summaries were also released by NASS in early August. From 2014 to 2015, U.S. average cropland value increased marginally from $4,100 to $4,130 per acre. Regionally, the largest year-to-year jump in cropland prices took place in the Southern Plains (Texas and Oklahoma) with a 9.2 percent increase from $1,630 to $1,780 per acre. Texas led the way for all states with a 9.5 percent spike in cropland value from $1,680 in 2014 to $1,840 this year. The Pacific region experienced a 5.2 percent rise led by California at 5.4 percent.
The Corn Belt was the only region to experience a drop in cropland prices, regressing 2.3 percent. Iowa had the greatest decline of all states, down 6.3 percent from $8,750 in 2014 to $8,200 in 2015. Ohio was the only Corn Belt state that showed a jump in cropland value (3.5 percent).
The highest cropland values in the U.S. currently belong to New Jersey ($13,500), California ($10,690), and Arizona ($8,320). To view the complete NASS Agricultural Land Values report (including pasture value), click here.