Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.
In the past year, the difference between Supreme and Fair alfalfa hay prices delivered into Central California dairies have been record wide. In mid-September of 2014, the spread was $112 per ton delivered to Tulare-Hanford, Calif., dairies. In the first week of November 2015, the spread was around $120. There were a few times during the 2015 season when the spread widened to $124. This continued wide spread in prices is an indicator that Fair quality alfalfa hay supplies are plentiful, not only in California but in the West. Additionally, dairies in California and the West are feeding less alfalfa hay to dry cows than a few years ago. There are much fewer supplies of Supreme alfalfa hay. Idaho is another Western state where there are record spreads between Supreme and Fair alfalfa hay prices, up to $120 to $130 per ton the past few months.