In 2017, alfalfa hay exports to China accounted for 44 percent of all alfalfa hay exports from the West Coast. In the first half of 2019, that number had dropped to 26 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In June, alfalfa hay exports from the West Coast to China were down 35 percent from June of last year.
China announced early last week that as a result of an additional 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports to the U.S. that they would retaliate by not purchasing U.S. farm products. State-owned (government) companies in China stopped buying U.S. soybeans, corn, sorghum, and pork. Chinese dairies say they want alfalfa hay from the U.S. and were still placing orders last week, according to West Coast export contacts.
There are both private and state-owned dairies in China and the question remains “Will the government let Chinese dairies, particularly private dairies, continue to purchase alfalfa hay from the U.S.?”