February hay price holds steady

By Mike Rankin

The February average price for both alfalfa and other hay types looked very similar to that of January’s in the USDA’s latest Agricultural Prices report.

The average February alfalfa hay price declined $1 per ton to $180, which followed two consecutive months of positive price movement. The February average alfalfa hay price is $25 per ton more than one year ago and is the highest February average price since 2014. From December until spring when new crop begins to hit the market, hay values typically trend higher with a peak occurring in April or May.

Keep in mind that the USDA average prices currently account for all qualities of hay sold. That means Premium and higher quality hay is actually at some higher price average. 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 leading alfalfa hay price gainers in February were led by the Midwest states of Iowa (up $14 per ton), Wisconsin (up $14), and Minnesota (up $12). The only other double-digit price boost was Arizona (up $10).

Those states with the greatest price declines in February were Pennsylvania (minus $42 per ton), Texas (minus $17), Indiana (minus $10) and Oregon (minus $10).

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported from New Mexico ($260 per ton), Colorado ($240), California ($220), Kentucky ($220), and Arizona ($210).

The lowest prices were found in North Dakota ($90 per ton), South Dakota ($117), and Nebraska ($120).

Other hay

The February price of other hay (mostly grass hay) held steady at $146 per ton. This value is $23 higher than the previous year and marks the ninth consecutive month without a price decline.

The highest price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Colorado ($240 per ton), Arizona ($200), and Washington ($200).

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($68 per ton), Nebraska ($96), Kansas ($102), and South Dakota ($105).