There was enough dry weather in the Imperial Valley the past couple of weeks for growers to put up some nice quality first cutting alfalfa hay. Weather has been a challenge with a rain event about every week, but the rain early last week was very light and not much damage was reported. More rain is forecasted for this week.
Historically, dairy hay buyers from Central California would be swarming the Imperial Valley to purchase higher quality, early new crop alfalfa hay — but not this year. While there was demand from dairy hay buyers, it was not the widespread interest seen in past years. Why?
Dairies are still struggling financially and many are not in the market to buy hay. The other reason was export demand. In past years, export buyers would not be purchasing new crop alfalfa hay in the Imperial Valley until second or third cutting. While there was not widespread export buyer participation, a couple of export buyers were in the market last week actively buying alfalfa hay for Saudi Arabia and China.
Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.