Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, baled hay and straw exports from the West Coast from July through November 2015 were 3,582,640 short tons, up 7 percent from the same period in 2014. The main reason for the increase was a 31 percent increase in alfalfa hay exports to China and stronger alfalfa hay exports to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Hay and straw exports from the West Coast to Japan were down 3 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, according to Japanese Port data. The work slowdown at West Coast ports early last year had a big impact on shipments, as Japanese buyers were forced to purchase hay in other parts of the world. These supplies, along with heavier shipments to Japan when the West Coast labor issues were resolved, resulted in an oversupply situation that reduced West Coast hay shipments to Japan in late spring and summer.