November alfalfa hay price drops

By Mike Rankin, Managing Editor

After two months of moderate price gains and a record-high price set in October, the November average alfalfa hay price declined by $14 per ton, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. For hay other than alfalfa, the average price rose slightly to $182 per ton.

The average price of alfalfa during November was pegged at $267 per ton, which was still $54 per ton above a year ago.

Five states issued double-digit gains in their average alfalfa hay price from October to November. Oklahoma led this group with its plus $20 per ton jump. It was followed by Wisconsin with a $14 per ton bump and Kansas, which was up $12. Arizona and Colorado both gained $10 per ton.

Double-digit declines in the November alfalfa hay price occurred in four states. Nevada, Idaho, and California were all down by $20 per ton while Washington was down $10.

The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in California and Arizona, both at $350 per ton. Oregon checked in at $330 while Nevada and Washington were at $320.

The Midwestern states continue to post the cheapest average alfalfa hay prices. North Dakota was lowest at $123 per ton. It was followed by Missouri ($170), Iowa ($176), and Ohio ($180).

Keep in mind that the USDA average prices account for all qualities and bale types 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 (California, Idaho, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin). This data is used to determine feed prices in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

For November, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $17 per ton to $331. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $254 per ton.

Other hay

The November average price of other hay (mostly grass) rose by $2 per ton to $182, which is $27 per ton higher than one year ago.

The highest November prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Nevada ($310 per ton) and Washington ($290).

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $85 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $116.