The average alfalfa hay price during August hiked to $206 per ton, which was the highest monthly average since August 2014. Not only was the August price historically high, but it also came during a time of year when hay prices generally decline.
The August alfalfa price was $5 above the previous month and $34 higher than one year ago. It was the ninth 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 $238, a whopping $46 per ton higher than one year ago.
Four states registered double-digit, month-over-month alfalfa price gains in August. Leading this group was Montana, posting a $15 per ton improvement. It was followed by Idaho, Michigan, and Ohio, which were all up by $10 per ton.
The only state with a double-digit price decline was Oklahoma, dropping $18 per ton.
The highest average alfalfa hay prices were reported in New Mexico ($240), Colorado ($230), Oregon ($230), Pennsylvania ($225), and Utah ($225).
The lowest alfalfa hay prices were posted in Nebraska ($154 per ton) and Missouri ($155).
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 August, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay jumped by $6 to $238 per ton. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $192.
The August price of other hay (mostly grass) rose by $1 per ton from July to $152, which was $18 per ton above one year ago.
The highest price for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Colorado and Washington, both at $240 per ton.
Kansas had the lowest reported other hay average price at $103 per ton. It was followed by Nebraska ($103).