Over the past six weeks, there have been a few new crop contracts in the West and most of them were to export buyers. With the USDA’s Prospective Planting report estimating alfalfa hay acres in the seven Western states down 2 percent from a year ago, early indications point to less alfalfa hay production in 2018. Consequently, some export buyers were trying to secure alfalfa hay supplies by making early new crop contracts.
While some growers have turned down contract offers, others are making deals with different motivations such as money paid up front, acceptance of rained-on hay, lowering the base quality level so growers can get more tonnage per acre, and so forth. While there were a few new crop alfalfa hay contracts to dairy buyers, most dairies are not in a financial position to make contracts that require money paid up front.