Prices on Premium to Supreme quality alfalfa hay have improved over the last month in some areas of the West as supplies have tightened. Dairy buyers have had to compete with export buyers to secure high-quality hay, but the demand has not been the same from all dairies. The recovery in the dairy market has been mostly held to Class III milk and cheese prices. So, while some dairies selling milk to these outlets with excellent component tests are receiving profitable milk checks, many others are not.

Government programs have helped most dairies, but many are still buying small lots of hay on an as needed basis. Prices on most lower quality alfalfa hay, dubbed feeder or dry cow hay, have been steady to lower. Supplies are readily available due to challenging weather and lower demand from dairies and feedlots. Some growers are tarping and storing the hay rather then selling at current offers, and movement has been slower than normal.

Monsoon season got started this week with thunderstorms arriving in Arizona and stretching up into Idaho. In Arizona, with the current lower prices on dry, summer hay, some growers in expensive water areas are drying up alfalfa fields rather than fight the monsoons.

Josh Callen

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