The threat of a 25 percent tariff on U.S. alfalfa hay exported to China has put a cloud over the hay export industry in the western U.S. The tariff is supposed to go into effect on July 6 and there is a lot of caution with hay exporters. China is by far the leading export market for Western alfalfa hay with a total of 1,171,000 million metric tons shipped in 2017, 45 percent of the total alfalfa hay exports from the U.S. in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
While there have been a few sales of alfalfa hay from farms in the western U.S. this past week, it was hay to be stored until the tariff situation is resolved. Much of this was in Arizona and Idaho. Exporters in the West say shipments to China will taper off after July 6 if the tariffs are implemented.