February hay prices continue to strengthen

By Mike Rankin

All-hay and alfalfa February hay price averages both continued their 2018 climb, according to last week’s USDA Agricultural Prices report. The all-hay price was up $4 per ton from January to $143; that is $19 per ton higher than February 2017. Hay other than alfalfa held at $124 per ton following a $6 gain last month; it still remains $3 ahead of last year’s pace.

At $155 per ton, the February alfalfa hay price jumped another $3 per ton from the previous month, which followed a $4 per ton bump last month. The alfalfa hay price now sits $28 per ton higher than one year ago.

The USDA price averages account for all qualities of hay sold, and 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 states with fewer sales.

The largest price gainers in February included Arizona, Colorado, and Texas (all at plus $10 per ton); and Wisconsin (plus $8).

Those states with the greatest price declines were Pennsylvania (minus $19 per ton), Nevada (minus $10), Ohio (minus $10), and Oregon (minus $10).

The highest alfalfa hay prices are being reported from New York ($238 per ton), Kentucky ($215 per ton), California ($205 per ton), and Texas ($196 per ton). The lowest prices can be found in Nebraska ($101 per ton), North Dakota ($102 per ton), and Iowa ($110 per ton).