The average hay price for alfalfa hay fell another $6 per ton during September, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. This was the fifth consecutive month of price decline since hitting a record-high average price of $287 per ton during April. The average alfalfa hay price settled at $224 per ton during September, putting it $56 per ton lower than one year ago.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay during September rose by $6 per ton and settled at $288.

Grass hay was pegged at $161 per ton in September, which was the same as the previous month’s price.

Four states posted double-digit gains in alfalfa price. Wisconsin was up $30 per ton and was followed by California, which had a $20 gain. Both Ohio and Michigan were up $10 per ton.

Double-digit declines in the September alfalfa hay price occurred in nine of the 27 reported states. Arizona was down by $30 per ton for the third straight month while Utah was also down $30. Both New York and Pennsylvania were down by $16 per ton, Nevada was $15 per ton lower, and Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Washington had a $10 month-over-month reduction.

The highest average September alfalfa hay price was reported in New Mexico at $285 per ton. Oregon followed at $280 while Washington checked in at $270 per ton.

Midwest states continue to offer the lowest average hay prices. North Dakota was easily the lowest at $120 per ton. It was followed by South Dakota at $161 per ton and Minnesota 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 September, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $6 per ton to $288 after falling by that same amount during the previous month. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $342 per ton.

Other hay

The September average price of other hay (mostly grass) held steady at $161 per ton, which was $19 per ton lower than a year earlier.

The highest September price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Oregon at $255 per ton. Washington and Colorado followed at $250 per ton.

Oklahoma had the lowest reported other hay average price at $89 per ton. It was followed by North Dakota at $90 and Wisconsin at $113.