The monthly U.S. average alfalfa price for April climbed $6 per ton after making a $4 per ton gain for April. The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $181 per ton, which still is $17 per ton lower than one year ago.
In most years, the top alfalfa average price occurs in April or May. Last year, it peaked in May at $204 per ton before retreating to $175 by year’s end.
Interestingly, only one state posted a double-digit price gain, and that was Idaho with a $10 per ton improvement.
Double-digit price decliners included only Pennsylvania, down $24 per ton, and New York, down $20.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($241 per ton), Colorado ($230), New York ($223), and New Mexico ($220).
The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($90 per ton), South Dakota ($102), and Nebraska ($111).
Keep in mind that the USDA average prices account for all qualities of hay sold. Also, the final U.S. estimate is a volume-weighted average rather than a simple average of state values. Those states with the most volume sales will impact the final U.S. dollar value more than those states with fewer sales.
The USDA also tracks the prices of Premium and Supreme quality alfalfa in the major dairy states and determines an average price from the five leading milk-producing states. This data is being used to determine feed prices in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
For April, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay increased by $4 per ton to $209 after dropping by $5 per ton last month. A year ago, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay was $219 per ton.
The April average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) dropped by $6 per ton from the previous month to $124. It marked the second consecutive $6 per ton monthly drop.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($225 per ton), Arizona ($190), and New Mexico ($190).
States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($67 per ton), South Dakota ($81), and Oklahoma ($85).