Hay prices dropped for the third month in a row as both alfalfa and other hay types finished with an August average price below the previous month’s levels.

The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $179 per ton, $4 per ton below July and just $2 above one year ago. The average price for alfalfa hay has receded by $25 per ton since hitting its high in 2019 of $204 during May.

Only two states had significant alfalfa price gains in August; those were Wisconsin (up $25 per ton) and Wyoming (up $10).

Price decliners were more numerous and led by Pennsylvania (down $44 per ton), Minnesota (down $20), Oklahoma (down $20), Michigan (down $10), and Ohio (down $10).

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in New Mexico ($230), Colorado ($225), Kentucky ($210), and Oregon ($205).

The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($89 per ton), South Dakota ($100), and Nebraska ($111).

Keep in mind that the USDA average prices account for all qualities of hay sold. Also, the final U.S. estimate is a volume-weighted average rather than a simple average of state values. Those states with the most volume sales will impact the final U.S. dollar value more than those states with fewer sales.

The USDA now tracks the prices of Premium and Supreme quality hay in the major dairy states and determines an average price from the five leading milk-producing states. This data is being used to determine feed prices in the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For August, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay dropped $1 from July to $208 per ton. Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all posted higher prices for Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay.

Other hay

The August price of other hay (mostly grass hay) dropped to $127 per ton. This value is $9 per ton lower than the previous month and $6 per ton below one year ago.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($225 per ton), Oregon ($200), Arizona ($200), New Mexico ($185), and Washington ($185).

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($65 per ton), Minnesota ($78), and South Dakota ($81).