From the late 1990s up until about five or six years ago, I predicted what I thought the alfalfa hay market would do in the West each year or at least at the start of the season. The reality is that with so many factors, both domestic and export, including weather, it has become harder to estimate what prices will do.

For example, look at the early alfalfa hay market in Idaho. A few months ago, some people were predicting new crop, first-cutting Supreme alfalfa hay in southern and southwest Idaho would be around $175 to $185 in the stack. Along came the rains, and after the wettest May in history, Supreme alfalfa hay prices jumped to $200 per ton with some high-test new crop in western Idaho selling for as high as $220 in the barn and going to a Washington buyer. Fair, old crop alfalfa hay prices in Idaho have been around $150 FOB (freight on board) due to tight supplies. But with the rain-delayed first cutting in southern Idaho, alfalfa feeder hay supplies are expected to rise significantly in the weeks ahead.

Seth Hoyt

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