Hay prices were up across the board during February, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report.
The average price of U.S. alfalfa hay in February climbed for the third consecutive month, edging up $4 per ton from January. The $175 per ton February price was $7 per ton above one year ago. Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay prices improved by $5 per ton to $211.
Five states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in February. Leading this group was Oklahoma, posting a $23 per ton improvement. It was followed by Wisconsin (up $18), New York (up $12), Iowa (up $11), and Pennsylvania (up $10).
Only two states (Nebraska and Oregon) posted an alfalfa hay price lower than the previous month, and both were marginal moves.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($286 per ton), New Mexico ($225), New York ($221), and Texas ($221).
The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($100 per ton), South Dakota ($115), and Nebraska ($117).
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 top milk-producing states. This data is used to determine feed prices in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
For February, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay moved higher by $5 per ton to $211. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $210 per ton.
The February price of other hay (mostly grass) averaged $143 per ton, which was $6 per ton higher than the previous month and higher than any month during 2020.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($225 per ton), Pennsylvania ($198), and Arizona ($190).
States with the lowest reported other hay average prices were North Dakota ($70 per ton), South Dakota ($82), and Minnesota ($84).