Exports of all hay from California ports in September totaled 201,313 metric tons (MT), up 4 percent from a year ago and the highest monthly total since June 2017. All hay exports from Washington ports were at 150,561 MT. While up 4.7 percent from September of last year, exports were down from March and May of this year. All hay exports from California ports from January through September 2019 were up 5.4 percent from the same period last year, while exports from Washington were down 2.7 percent.

In April through September 2019, hay exports from California ports outpaced Washington ports by an average of 42,000 MT per month. The main reasons were price and available quality. The price of Fair to Good export alfalfa hay in the California and Arizona desert averaged $10 per ton less than prices in Washington.

Untimely rains in Washington this summer made it difficult to produce alfalfa hay with good color. Conversely, below normal rain during the mid- to late-summer monsoon season in the southern desert resulted in more alfalfa hay with good color.
Seth Hoyt

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