Fewer alfalfa hay acres being planted in central California

By Seth Hoyt

Seth Hoyt

Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.

Sources in central California report that fewer acres of alfalfa hay are being planted for the 2016 season. Wheat plantings for grain, seed and silage are higher according to one custom farmer. Many hay growers in central California, according to sources, want to reduce alfalfa hay acres and will increase plantings of other crops such as almonds, pistachios, processed tomatoes and other crops. This is being prompted by lack of demand from dairies, lower hay prices during much of 2015, and concern about where the alfalfa hay market is going in 2016. Additionally, although there are predictions of above normal rain and snow this winter in the West, some central California growers are hedging against the unknown by reducing alfalfa hay acres and will plant crops that use less water. Early indications point to more alfalfa hay acres in California’s Imperial Valley in 2016 as growers have limited options.