The average hay price for alfalfa regressed to $279 per ton during May, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. May’s alfalfa hay price was down $8 per ton from the previous month and followed a $20 rise from March to April. The price remained $35 higher than one year ago.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay during May rose by a modest $2 per ton to $317.

Grass hay was pegged at $175 per ton in May, which was $8 higher than the previous month and the first upward movement in price since November 2022.

Double-digit gains in alfalfa price were realized in five states during May. That group was topped by Kansas, which had a $12 per ton gain. It was followed by Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which were all up by $10 per ton.

Double-digit declines in the May alfalfa hay price occurred in six states. Oklahoma’s price dropped by $22 per ton while California was down $20. Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona each had a reduction of $10 per ton.

The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in Arizona at $335 per ton. Washington followed at $320 while New Mexico checked in at $310 per ton.

Midwest states continue to offer the cheapest average hay prices. North Dakota was easily the lowest at $135 per ton. It was followed by Missouri at $165 per ton and Wisconsin at $170.

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 May, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $2 per ton to $317. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $274 per ton.

Other hay

The May average price of other hay (mostly grass) increased by $8 per ton to $175, which was $32 per ton higher than a year earlier.

The highest May price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Washington at $280 per ton. Oregon and Colorado followed at $260 per ton.

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $102 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $113 and Missouri at $125.