USDA hay production forecast changes little

By Mike Rankin, Managing Editor

Last week, USDA published its October Crop Production report with updates to its August report. Final crop production estimates won’t be available until January’s Crop Production Annual Summary report.

Although there was some speculation that there would be major adjustments from August, that was not the case.

Alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures

USDA made no adjustment to alfalfa acres for any state from August to October. These will be made in the January summary report. It did drop the U.S. yield of dry alfalfa hay acres by 0.02 tons per acre, which lowered total production by 343,000 tons (less than 1%).

Drilling down, some of the major alfalfa hay-producing states with a significant change in yield projection from August were:

Arizona: +0.4, up to 9 tons per acre

California: -0.8, down to 6.5 tons per acre

Colorado: +0.5, up to 4.5 tons per acre

Oklahoma: -0.6, down to 3 tons per acre

Washington: +0.7, up to 4.3 tons per acre

Grass hay

Like alfalfa, grass hay (hay other than alfalfa) acres were not changed from August. The U.S. average yield for grass hay was raised by 0.04 tons per acre to 2.04. This resulted in a total production increase of about 1.4 million tons, or 2%.

Some states with significant changes in grass hay average yield included:

Colorado: +0.4, up to 1.8 tons per acre

North Dakota: +0.2, up to 1.1 tons per acre

Oregon: +0.2, up to 2.2 tons per acre

Tennessee: -0.3, down to 2.15 tons per acre

Texas: +0.3, up to 2.4 tons per acre

West Virginia: -0.4, down to 1.75 tons per acre