The average hay price for alfalfa bumped to $266 per ton during February, continuing its hovering ways between $260 and $270 per ton for the fourth month in a row.

According to the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report, February’s alfalfa hay price was up $3 per ton from January, which continued its up-down-up-down trend over the past few months in a rather narrow range. The price still remained $46 higher than one year ago.

The average price for grass hay during February was pegged at $172 per ton, dropping for the third consecutive month.

Double-digit gains in alfalfa price were realized in six states during February. That group was topped by North Dakota, which had a $19 per ton gain. It was followed by Nevada (+$15), Nebraska (+$14), Minnesota (+12), and Michigan and Ohio, both up $10 per ton.

Double-digit declines in the February alfalfa hay price occurred in four states. Pennsylvania, New York, and California were all down by $15 per ton. Washington was down $10.

The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in Arizona at $355 per ton. California followed at $345 while Washington checked in at $325 per ton.

As has been the case for a while, Midwest states accounted for the lowest average hay prices. North Dakota was easily the lowest at $129 per ton. It was followed by Missouri at $165 and Wisconsin at $169 per ton.

Keep in mind that 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 February, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $4 per ton to $324. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $282 per ton.

Other hay

The February average price of other hay (mostly grass) dropped by $3 per ton to $172, which was $17 per ton higher than a year earlier.

The highest February price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in California ($290 per ton). Washington followed at $280 per ton while both Oregon and Nevada posted a $255 price.

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $91 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $109 and Illinois at $120.