The average price of U.S. alfalfa hay dropped $1 per ton in September compared to the previous month. The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged the average September alfalfa price at $171 per ton, which was $8 per ton below last year.
The average price for alfalfa hay has held remarkably stable for many months. The last time it was significantly out of the $170 to $180 per ton range was July 2019. The high-water mark for 2020 occurred in April when the price averaged $181 per ton.
Only three states registered double-digit alfalfa price declines for September. Those were New York (down $33 per ton), Colorado (down $25), and Washington (down $10).
States with double-digit price improvements were led by Oklahoma (up $17 per ton). Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah were all $10 per ton higher than the previous month.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($235 per ton), New Mexico ($225), Kentucky ($210), Oregon ($205), and Ohio ($200).
The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($80 per ton) and Nebraska ($99).
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 for the third month in a row at $192 per ton. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $204 per ton.
The September average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) took a dive to $125 per ton, which was $12 below the previous month but $3 above one year ago.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($210 per ton), Washington ($190), and Nevada ($185).
States with the lowest reported other hay average prices were North Dakota ($67 per ton), Nebraska ($76), and South Dakota ($77).