Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.
Due to lower milk prices and limited amount of top-quality alfalfa hay, demand for early new crop alfalfa hay in central California is below normal. Many dairies are either waiting for second cutting in hopes of improved quality or they are buying smaller amounts to get them by in the short term because of having less money to buy feed. Some dairies have sufficient inventories of hay to carry them for a few months. To add to the slow trading on new alfalfa hay was rain that hit Northern California and the Central Valley late last week and Saturday, which shut down current hay production. There were reports of 1/2 to 1-1/4 inches of rain. Based on the early season market in California and Arizona, alfalfa hay growers in other parts of the West are bracing for lower hay prices compared to the start of last season.