Ten months of higher alfalfa prices
|By Hay and Forage Grower|
The average alfalfa hay price during September rose to $209 per ton, which was the highest monthly average since July 2014.
The September alfalfa price was $3 per ton above the previous month and $39 higher than one year ago. It was the 10th consecutive month that the alfalfa price posted a month-over-month gain in USDA’s Agricultural Prices report.
The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay increased by $6 per ton to $244, a whopping $52 per ton higher than one year ago.
Five states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in September. Leading the group for the second month in a row was Montana, posting a $25 per ton improvement. The drought-stricken state posted a price of $225 per ton, which was $100 per ton above one year ago. Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington were all up by $10 per ton.
Four states posted double-digit price declines. These included Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in Oregon ($240 per ton), Utah ($235), Colorado ($230), and New Mexico ($230).
The lowest alfalfa hay prices were posted in Nebraska ($151 per ton) and Iowa ($157).
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 September, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay jumped by $6 per ton for the second consecutive month to $244. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $192 per ton.
The September price of other hay (mostly grass) declined by $7 per ton from August to $145, which was still $21 per ton above one year ago.
The highest price for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Washington ($250 per ton) and Colorado ($240).
Missouri had the lowest reported other hay average price at $100 per ton. It was followed by Nebraska ($104).