Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.
When alfalfa hay prices reached record high prices in 2014, many dairies, particularly in California, started using or increased the usage of straw, mainly wheat straw, in dry cow rations. Alfalfa was greatly reduced and in some cases taken completely out of dry cow rations in California. With dry cow quality alfalfa hay prices at the lowest level since 2010, have dairies returned to using alfalfa hay for dry cows? While some have, we hear that quite a few dairies are staying with straw rather than switching back to alfalfa hay. This may be due to fluctuations in alfalfa hay supplies and prices the past few years. With uncertainty of wheat straw supplies in 2016 due to lower wheat markets and drought in California, eight dairies in Tulare, contracted bermuda straw from the Imperial Valley this past week. Nine thousand tons of big bale bermuda straw sold for $125 per ton for current to February delivery to Tulare.