The average hay price for alfalfa remained stalled at $267 per ton during March, continuing to hover between $260 and $270 per ton for the fifth month in a row.
According to the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report, March’s alfalfa hay price was up $1 per ton from February. The price still remained $39 higher than one year ago.
More significant movement was evident for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay. It dropped by $10 to $314 per ton, which was $15 above a year ago.
The average price for grass hay during March was pegged at $171 per ton, dropping for the fourth consecutive month.
Double-digit gains in alfalfa price were realized in 10 states during March. That group was topped by New York and Pennsylvania, which both had a $13 per ton gain. They were followed by Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Washington, all of which were up by $10 per ton.
Double-digit declines in the March alfalfa hay price occurred in four states. Nevada’s price dropped by $30 per ton while California was down $25. Utah and Idaho both had a reduction of $10 per ton.
The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in Arizona at $350 per ton. Washington followed at $335 while Oregon checked in at $325 per ton.
As has been the case for several months, Midwest states accounted for the lowest average hay prices. North Dakota was easily the lowest at $129 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $162 per ton and Missouri at $165.
Keep in mind that USDA average prices account for all qualities and bale types 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 (California, Idaho, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin). This data is used to determine feed prices in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
For March, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $10 per ton to $314. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $299 per ton.
The March average price of other hay (mostly grass) dropped by $1 per ton to $171, which was $16 per ton higher than a year earlier.
The highest March price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in California ($290 per ton). Washington followed at $285 per ton while Colorado posted a $265 price.
North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $96 per ton. It was followed by Oklahoma at $111 and Wisconsin at $115.