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Seth Hoyt
Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently reported that the pounds of alfalfa hay fed to milk cows in California during the second quarter of 2017 averaged 7.3 pounds per head per day. This was the lowest in many years, but I only have information back to the year 2000 when it was 13.01 pounds. In the second quarter of 2016, alfalfa hay fed to milk cows in California was 8.04 pounds and averaged 8.34 pounds per head per day for the entire year of 2016, according to CDFA. Due to lower prices on grains and other by-product feeds in California compared to a year ago, dairies have been reducing alfalfa hay in milk cow rations to try and lower feed costs. In September, Premium to Supreme alfalfa hay was delivering to Central California dairies from $260 to $285 per ton, $30 to $40 per ton higher than the same time last year.