Alfalfa hay prices likely to see 20% increase

The Livestock Marketing Information Center is calling for a significant decline in hay acres this year and an increase to prices.

Director and senior economist Katelyn McCullock says alfalfa acres are primarily located in northern states and in the west and production numbers have been tight for the past two years with the ongoing drought and increased price competition from other crops.

“We have seen a massive decline in new seedings of alfalfa—down 25 percent,” she says.  “This is the lowest new seedings on record—below two million acres.”

While the reduction will lead to extremely bullish prices for hay producers, livestock and dairy cattle feed costs will also remain elevated.

“Alfalfa prices in this marketing year are going to be up about 20 percent from where they were last year and we’re predicting about another 18-20 percent rise in the following year,” she forecasts.

The center’s current alfalfa hay price ranges from $235 to $255 per ton this year.

McCullock spoke on the outlook for hay markets during the recent USDA Ag Outlook Forum.

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