Alfalfa continues to hover around $180

By Mike Rankin

The average U.S. alfalfa hay price during October dropped $2 per ton after going up by that same amount in September.

The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $179 per ton, which was $3 per ton above one year ago. The average price for alfalfa hay stands at $25 per ton below the 2019 high of $204 during May.

Significant price gainers were led by New York and Pennsylvania, which were both up $30 per ton. Other notable gainers included Wisconsin (up $23), Iowa (up $20), Minnesota (up $18), and South Dakota (up $13).

Price decliners were led by Texas (down $21 per ton) and Oklahoma (down $12).

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Colorado ($235 per ton), New Mexico ($220), and Pennsylvania ($220).

The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($82 per ton), Nebraska ($102), and South Dakota ($121).

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 and determines an average price from the five leading milk-producing states. This data is being used to determine feed prices in the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For October, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay rose by a modest $1 from September to $205 per ton.

Other hay

The October average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) climbed to $126 per ton. This value is $6 per ton higher than the previous month but still $11 per ton below one year ago. It broke a string of four consecutive months where the other hay price had dropped compared to the previous month. In May, it had reached its 2019 peak of $152 per ton.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($235 per ton), Arizona and Oregon ($200), and New Mexico ($190).

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($66 per ton), South Dakota ($81), and Texas ($84).