The October average alfalfa hay price rose another $4 per ton, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. For hay other than alfalfa, the average price jumped $6 per ton.

The average price of alfalfa during October was $281 per ton, which was $62 per ton above a year ago and once again set another record-high monthly price.

Five states issued double-digit gains in their average alfalfa hay price from September to October. Nevada led this group with its plus $30 per ton jump. It was followed by California with a $20 per ton bump. Others in the double-digit gain group included Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska, all up by $10 per ton.

Double-digit declines in alfalfa hay price during October occurred in two states. Montana was down by $12 per ton while North Dakota was down by $10.

The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in California at $370 per ton. Arizona and Nevada checked in at $340 while Oregon and Washington were at $330.

The Midwestern states continue to post the cheapest average alfalfa hay prices. North Dakota was lowest at $128 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $169.

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 October, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay climbed by $6 per ton to $348. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $254 per ton.

Other hay

The October average price of other hay (mostly grass) rose by $6 per ton to $180, which is $25 per ton higher than one year ago.

The highest October prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Nevada ($350 per ton) and Washington ($305).

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $81 per ton. It was followed by Oklahoma at $100.