A September bump for hay prices

By Hay and Forage Grower

We don’t always see a boost in hay prices during September, but that’s what occurred in 2018 based on USDA’s most recent Agricultural Prices report released last week. The All Hay price rose by $2 per ton to $163, which is $26 higher than September 2017. Other Hay (hay other than alfalfa) held steady from August at $130 per ton. That’s $16 higher than September 2017.

The average August Alfalfa Hay price rose by $3 per ton to $180; this followed three months of price declines and it’s often the case in past years that alfalfa prices drop during September. The $180 per ton alfalfa price is $31 higher than one year ago and $31 per ton above last December. To date, the highest average alfalfa price in 2018 occurred in May at $189 per ton.

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 September were Minnesota (up $25 per ton), Wisconsin (up $20), Idaho (up $15), and Washington (up $10).

Price decliners were led by Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio — all down $10 per ton.

The highest average Alfalfa Hay prices were reported from New Mexico ($230 per ton), Kentucky ($220), Colorado ($215), Arizona ($210), California ($200), and Oregon ($200).

The lowest prices were found in North Dakota ($88 per ton) and South Dakota ($101).