The average price of U.S. alfalfa hay declined by only $2 per ton in August compared to the previous month. This followed a $5 drop from June to July. The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged the average August alfalfa price at $172 per ton. That price is $7 per ton below last year, but the spread continues to shrink.
Despite the small drop in the average price, there were still five states posting double-digit price gains. Those were:
Texas: up $20 per ton
New York: up $15 per ton
Oklahoma: up $15 per ton
Pennsylvania: up $15 per ton
New Mexico: up $10 per ton
Only one state had a double-digit decline, and that was Colorado (down $10 per ton).
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($236 per ton), New Mexico ($225), Colorado ($215), New York ($213), and Kentucky ($210).
The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($84 per ton), South Dakota ($100), and Nebraska ($107).
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.
Supreme and Premium
The USDA also tracks the prices of Supreme and Premium 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 August, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay held steady from July at $192 per ton. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $208 per ton.
The August average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) remained firm at $137 per ton, $8 above one year ago.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($230 per ton), Washington ($210), and Nevada ($190).
States with the lowest reported other hay average prices were South Dakota ($70), North Dakota ($72 per ton), and Nebraska ($84).