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Russell Nemetz Hay Production Down 2%, Grass Hay Prices Weaker
by Russell Nemetz, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: November 21, 2017

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Hi everybody it’s time for your Land and Livestock Report here on the Ag Information Network of the West-I’m Russell Nemetz.

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated that U.S. hay production would be close to 132 million tons in 2017, down 3 million tons from last year. Alfalfa hay production is pegged to be down 4%, and all other hay production is down 1%. Average alfalfa yield per acre is down 5% from a year ago, explaining all of the declines in output, as alfalfa area harvested increased 1% from 2016. As would be expected, states experiencing severe drought conditions in the Northern Plains suffered the biggest declines in alfalfa yields. North Dakota yields were down 32%, South Dakota was down 12%, and Montana was down 10%. Minnesota alfalfa yields were down 15%. Montana leads the nation in terms of alfalfa area harvested, with South Dakota second, and North Dakota having the third largest acreage harvested.

Total hay supplies for the 2017-2018 crop year (May 2017-April 2018) are down almost 2% from the prior year, given the smaller hay production this year. That matches up with a 2% increase in roughage consuming animals in the U.S. compared to 2016, due mostly an expanding beef cattle herd. Hay prices had been tracking above year-earlier values since the Spring based on the combination of less hay supply versus more animals.

Grass hay values were surprisingly weak in August, mostly due to a 25% price decline in Oklahoma, the third largest non-Alfalfa hay producing state. Grass hay prices were down 5% in Texas, the largest producer of non-Alfalfa hay. California, Minnesota, and Ohio also recorded double-digit percentage declines in non-Alfalfa hay prices from July to August.

That’s your Land and Livestock Report-I’m Russell Nemetz.

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