The alfalfa hay industry in the West is hopeful that a trade deal announced last week between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada will help to move things closer to a resolution with China. Alfalfa hay shipments to China in 2017 totaled 1,170,000 metric tons (MT), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was approximately 45 percent of all alfalfa hay exported from West Coast ports last year. In 2018, alfalfa hay exports to China peaked in April at 96,027 MT, but dropped to 78,259 MT in July when tariffs on alfalfa hay shipped to China were instituted and dropped to 71,723 MT in August. In January through August of this year, alfalfa hay exports from the West Coast to China totaled 670,570 MT, down 24 percent from the same period last year. Some alfalfa hay purchased before July for the Chinese market that was supposed to move in two to three months has still not been moved from some farms in the West.

Seth Hoyt

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