March alfalfa jumps $6 per ton

By Mike Rankin

The average price of U.S. alfalfa hay in March climbed for the fourth consecutive month, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. The price of other hay (mostly grass) declined by just $1 per ton.

The alfalfa hay price averaged $181 per ton during March, which was $6 per ton higher than the previous month and $9 per ton above one year ago. The March average price matched 2020’s May price, which was the high price for the year.

Four states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in March. Leading this group was Oklahoma, posting a $12 per ton improvement. It was followed by Montana, Ohio, and Washington, which were all up $10 per ton.

Only Pennsylvania (down $41 per ton) and New York (down $12) posted double-digit price declines.

The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Pennsylvania ($245 per ton), New Mexico ($230), Texas ($222), and Ohio ($220).

The lowest prices were posted in North Dakota ($102 per ton), South Dakota ($123), and Nebraska ($124).

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.

Supreme and Premium

The USDA also tracks the prices of Supreme and Premium quality alfalfa in the major dairy states and determines an average price from the five top milk-producing states. This data is used to determine feed prices in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For March, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay moved $1 lower to $210 per ton. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $205.

Other hay

The March price of other hay averaged $142 per ton, which was $1 per ton lower than the previous month but $8 per ton higher than one year ago.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado ($230 per ton) and Arizona ($190). New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming all checked in at $180 per ton.

States with the lowest reported other hay average prices were North Dakota ($75 per ton), Minnesota ($78), and South Dakota ($82).