After six months of minor back and forth movement, the average alfalfa hay price jumped by $7 per ton in March compared to the previous month, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report.

The $221 per ton March price was the highest average monthly price since June 2014 and was $44 per ton higher than a year earlier. The record-high average monthly price was set in May 2014 when alfalfa hay reached $227 per ton.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $3 per ton in March to $269, which followed significant gains the previous three months. The Supreme and Premium price stood $59 per ton higher than it was in March 2021.

Four states issued double-digit gains in their average alfalfa hay price. Arizona was up by $20 per ton while New York posted a plus $13 hike. Oregon and Washington were both up by $10 per ton.

Double-digit price declines were reported for Minnesota (down $13 per ton), Michigan (down $10), and Ohio (down $10).

The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in Arizona at $270 per ton. Montana, Oregon, and Utah all had an average price of $260 per ton.

The lowest alfalfa hay price was reported in Wisconsin at $161 per ton. It was followed by Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska at $165.

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 March, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $3 per ton to $269. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $210 per ton.

Other hay

The March price of other hay (mostly grass) held steady at $146 per ton, which was $4 per ton above one year ago.

The highest prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Washington ($285 per ton), Oregon ($255), and Colorado ($225).

Oklahoma had the lowest reported other hay average price at $100 per ton. It was followed by Nebraska ($105) and Kansas ($109).