The average price for alfalfa hay fell another $7 per ton during October, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. This was the sixth consecutive month of price decline since hitting a record-high average price of $287 per ton during April. The average alfalfa hay price settled at $217 per ton during October, putting it $64 per ton lower than one year ago.

The average price for Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay during October dropped by $10 per ton and settled at $278.

Grass hay was pegged at $164 per ton in October, which was $3 per ton higher than the September price.

Eight states posted double-digit month-over-month gains in alfalfa price. Oklahoma was up $21 per ton and was followed by New York and Pennsylvania, both with a $17 gain. Nevada was up $15 per ton. Other double-digit gainers were Texas ($12), Kentucky ($11), New Mexico ($10), and Iowa ($10).

Double-digit declines in the October alfalfa hay price occurred in five states. California was down by $20 per ton while Montana was off $15. Kansas alfalfa dropped $12 per ton while both Idaho and Oregon were $10 lower.

The highest average October alfalfa hay price was reported in New Mexico at $295 per ton. Oregon followed at $270 while Texas checked in at $268 per ton.

Midwest states continue to offer the lowest average hay prices. North Dakota remains the lowest at $115 per ton. It was followed by South Dakota at $165 per ton and Minnesota at $169.

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 October, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay dropped by $10 per ton to $278 after a small gain in September. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $348 per ton.

Other hay

The October average price of other hay (mostly grass) bumped to $164 per ton, which was $3 per ton higher than September but $19 lower than a year ago.

The highest October price for hay other than alfalfa was reported in Oregon and Colorado at $250 per ton. New Mexico and Washington followed at $245 per ton.

North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $85 per ton. It was followed by Oklahoma at $103.