Alfalfa prices continue to climb

By Hay and Forage Grower

Once again in 2018, the monthly All Hay and Alfalfa Hay price category averages both moved higher during May, based on USDA’s most recent Agricultural Prices report released last week. The All Hay price hit $167 per ton, up $5 per ton from the previous month and $20 higher than May 2017. Other Hay (hay other than alfalfa) dropped $2 per ton to $122, which is $5 per ton lower than May 2017.

The May Alfalfa Hay price of $189 per ton is at a level not seen since October 2014 and rose $5 per ton from April. The May price is $32 higher than one year ago. The Alfalfa Hay price has climbed $40 per ton since December. As a general rule, annual alfalfa prices peak during April or May. The 2017 peak occurred in May at $157 per ton, well below the current level.

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 those states with fewer sales.

The largest Alfalfa Hay price gainers in May were New Mexico (up $30 per ton), Oklahoma (up $10), North Dakota (up $6), and Wisconsin (up $6).

Price decliners included Michigan (down $40 per ton), Iowa (down $16), Pennsylvania (down $14), and Minnesota (down $12).

The highest Alfalfa Hay prices were reported from New Mexico ($240 per ton), Kentucky ($215), Ohio ($215), Texas ($212), Arizona ($210), and California ($210).

The lowest prices were found in Nebraska ($114 per ton), North Dakota ($116 per ton), and South Dakota ($116).