The average price of alfalfa hay during May jumped by $7 per ton from April to settle at $202 per ton, according to data from the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. The last time alfalfa had a month-over-month increase in price was April 2023. That was the month when the average price for alfalfa hay hit a record high of $287 per ton.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay during May rebounded by $16 per ton, setting at $276, after dropping by $11 per ton the previous month.

The average grass hay price also strengthened. It averaged $154 per ton, which was $6 higher than the previous month.

Three states posted double-digit month-over-month gains in alfalfa price during May. Nevada was up $15 per ton, while Oklahoma was up by $13. Colorado had a $10 per ton month-over-month increase.

Double-digit declines in the May alfalfa hay price occurred in five states and were led by Iowa, which was down $14 per ton from April. Minnesota followed with $12 per ton price decline, while Michigan, Idaho, and California were all down by $10 per ton.

The highest average May alfalfa hay price was reported in Texas at $300 per ton and was followed by New Mexico at $240. Pennsylvania posted a $235 price, while California and Colorado both settled at $230 per ton.

North Dakota easily had the lowest average alfalfa price at $102 per ton. It was followed by Montana and South Dakota at $140.

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 May, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $16 per ton to $276. It’s usually during April and May when high-quality hay is in short supply. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $317 per ton.

Other hay

The May average price of other hay (mostly grass) increased to $154 per ton and is currently $21 per ton lower than a year ago.

The highest May price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Washington at $220 per ton. Texas followed at $217 per ton.

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $80 per ton. It was followed by Oklahoma at $96 per ton.