Grass hay’s turn to jump
|By Hay and Forage Grower|
The August average alfalfa hay price dropped by $1 per ton after a surprising $31 per ton jump in July, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices report. For August, the jumping was left to the hay other than alfalfa (grass), which rose by $19 per ton from the previous month.
The average price of alfalfa during August was $275 per ton, which was $65 per ton above a year ago.
Five states issued double-digit gains in their average alfalfa hay price from July to August. Texas led this group with its plus $30 per ton jump. Others in the double-digit gain group included Nebraska (+$15), Kansas (+$11), California (+$10), and Oregon (+$10).
Double-digit declines in alfalfa hay price during August also occurred in five states. New York and Pennsylvania were both down $20 per ton. Nevada dropped by $15 while North Dakota and Oklahoma were both down by $10.
The highest average alfalfa hay price was reported in California at $350 per ton. Washington checked in at $335 and Arizona was at $330.
The Midwestern states continue to post the cheapest average alfalfa hay prices. Wisconsin was lowest at $141 per ton. It was followed by North Dakota and Iowa at $150 and $151, respectively.
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 August, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay rose by $10 per ton to $343, following a record increase of $56 per ton for July. One year ago, the average price of Supreme and Premium alfalfa hay was $242 per ton.
The August average price of other hay (mostly grass) rose by $19 per ton to $183, which was $25 per ton higher than one year ago.
The highest August prices for hay other than alfalfa were reported in Washington ($330 per ton) and Nevada ($310).
North Dakota had the lowest reported other hay average price at $90 per ton. It was followed by Wisconsin at $94.