A mixed bag for November hay prices
|By Hay and Forage Grower|
The average U.S. alfalfa hay price during November dropped by $6 per ton, following a $2 drop the previous month.
The latest USDA Agricultural Prices report pegged alfalfa at $173 per ton, which was the same average price as one year ago. A lower alfalfa price for November is not unusual. The last time the average alfalfa price rose from October to November was 2012.
The average price for alfalfa hay stands at $31 per ton below the 2019 high of $204 during May.
Significant alfalfa hay price gainers were led by Texas, up $45 per ton. Other notable gainers included Minnesota (up $26), New York (up $15), Pennsylvania (up $15), and Wisconsin (up $13).
Price decliners were led by Oklahoma (down $28).
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Colorado ($235 per ton), Pennsylvania ($235), Wisconsin ($226), and New Mexico ($220).
The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($88 per ton), Nebraska ($106), and South Dakota ($115).
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 also tracks the prices of Premium and Supreme quality alfalfa 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 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.
For November, the average price of Premium and Supreme alfalfa hay rose by $4 from October to $209 per ton. The 2019 peak for Premium and Supreme quality alfalfa occurred in February at $225 per ton.
The November average price of other hay (mostly grass hay) strengthened for the second month in a row. It rose by $11 per ton to $137, which is $4 per ton below one year ago. In May, it had reached its 2019 peak of $152 per ton.
The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($230 per ton), Oregon ($205), Arizona ($200), and Pennsylvania ($195).
States with the lowest reported other hay average prices included North Dakota ($62 per ton), Nebraska ($84), South Dakota ($87), and Oklahoma ($87).