After a string of 11 consecutive months with month-over-month alfalfa price gains, the average market value of alfalfa hay dropped by $3 per ton in November.

Any thought that a new negative streak might develop was at least temporarily halted in December as the price rebounded $3 to its October level of $213 per ton., according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. That price was $47 per ton higher than the previous December.

From January to December 2021, the average alfalfa price climbed by $42 per ton. During the same period in 2020, alfalfa started the year at $171 per ton, climbed to $179 per ton in May and June, then dropped to $169 in December, just a $2 difference from the start of the year.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay jumped by $7 per ton in December to $253 after losing $1 the previous month. The Supreme and Premium price now stands $50 per ton higher than it was one year ago.

Five states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in December. Leading the group was Pennsylvania, posting a $26 per ton improvement. The next highest jumps were in Montana (plus $15) and New York (plus $11). Arizona and Washington were both up by $10 per ton.

Three states posted double-digit price declines. These were Iowa (down $23 per ton), Minnesota (down $16), and Wisconsin (down $10).

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Oregon ($260 per ton), Utah ($255), Pennsylvania ($252), Montana ($250), and Washington ($240).

The lowest alfalfa hay prices were posted in Nebraska and Missouri at $158 and $165 per ton, respectively.

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.

Supreme and Premium

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

For December, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay jumped by $7 per ton to $253. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $203 per ton.

Other hay

The December price of other hay (mostly grass) dropped marginally by $1 per ton to $146, which was $13 per ton above one year ago.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Washington ($265 per ton), Oregon ($240), and Colorado ($240).

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $96 per ton. It was followed by Kansas ($98) and Nebraska ($100).