Hay prices continue summer slump

By Hay and Forage Grower

Hay prices retreated for the second month in a row as both alfalfa and other hay types finished with a July average price $10 per ton below the previous month.

The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $183 per ton. Though below June, this was still $4 per ton above last year’s July average price. The average price for alfalfa hay in 2019 hit its peak in May, averaging $204 per ton.

The leading alfalfa hay price gainer in July was New York, up just $10 per ton.

Price decliners were more numerous and were led by Wisconsin (down $52 per ton), Minnesota (down $41), Arizona (down $30), Oklahoma (down $19), and Iowa (down $18). Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, and South Dakota were all down $10 per ton.

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($231 per ton), New Mexico ($235), Colorado ($230), Kentucky ($210), and Ohio ($210).

The lowest prices were recorded in North Dakota ($90 per ton), South Dakota ($100), and Nebraska ($118).

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.

The USDA now tracks the prices of Premium and Supreme quality hay in the major dairy states. This data is being used to determine feed prices in the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For June, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay dropped $8 from June to $209 per ton. All of the top milk-producing states experienced price declines except for Idaho and New York, which remained the same as the previous month.

Other hay

The July price of other hay (mostly grass hay) dropped to $136 per ton. This value is $8 per ton higher than the previous year.

The highest price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Colorado ($230 per ton), Oregon ($205), Arizona ($200), and Washington ($195).

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($70 per ton), South Dakota ($88), and Nebraska ($88).