Unlike the conventional alfalfa hay market that is higher than a year ago, organic alfalfa hay prices are lower than 2016. The reason is that organic milk supplies have outpaced demand. Last year when conventional milk prices in California and Idaho were in the $13 to $14 per hundredweight (cwt.) range, organic milk prices were reported to be $40 per cwt. or higher. Organic milk producers were making money and paying strong prices for hay while conventional milk producers were struggling financially and pushing the conventional alfalfa hay market lower.
As a result, organic milk supplies have risen substantially and organic milk prices are down from a year ago. What this has done to the organic alfalfa hay market was witnessed two weeks ago in Idaho. Premium to Supreme alfalfa hay sold from $180 to $220 per ton, mostly $200 to $220, compared to conventional prices of $150 to $155 and organic prices last year of $220 to $240. Fair organic alfalfa hay two weeks ago in Idaho sold for $115, compared to $165 last year.