Nothing lasts forever — the string of 11 consecutive months with month-over-month alfalfa price gains has come to an end. The November alfalfa price dropped $3 per ton to $210, which was still $46 per ton higher than one year ago, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report.
The record-setting string of positive gains began in November 2020 with alfalfa averaging $167 per ton and ended in October 2021 with an average price of $213. Time will tell if the lower November price is a temporary setback or if the ceiling has been set.
The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $1 per ton to $246, still $46 per ton higher than one year ago.
Five states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in November. Leading the group was Wisconsin, posting a $17 per ton improvement. The next highest jumps were in Wyoming (plus $15) and Iowa (plus $11). Minnesota and Pennsylvania were both up by $10 per ton.
Only two states posted double-digit price declines. These were Kansas and Texas, both down $10 per ton.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Oregon ($255 per ton), Utah ($250), Montana ($235), and New Mexico and Washington, both at $230.
The lowest alfalfa hay prices were posted in Nebraska and Missouri, both at $160 per ton.
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 November, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $1 per ton to $246. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $200 per ton.
The November price of other hay (mostly grass) rose by $2 per ton to $145, which was $12 per ton above one year ago.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Washington ($260 per ton), Oregon ($250), and Colorado ($235).
Oklahoma had the lowest reported other hay average price at $90 per ton. It was followed by Missouri ($97) and Nebraska ($100).