National Hay Situation and Outlook

The 2011/2012 crop year was one of extraordinary high hay prices and tight supplies. Sellers enjoyed new record high prices in both the alfalfa and other hay complexes, while buyers struggled to find quality and affordable feed. Supplies were tight across the country and exports particularly of alfalfa made double digit gains adding to domestic supply pressure. By the close of the 2011/12, stocks were anticipated to be at a new record low and set the stage for another possible record high price year. Fortunately for the livestock side, mild winter temperatures and significant price rationing slowed hay use, resulting in stocks just 4% below last year’s May 1 level. Hay prices are expected to remain high this year and could easily remain in the top three record years. However, the current top three record years cover a large range. The current top three prices in alfalfa range from $195 per ton this year to $137 per ton in 2007/08. Expectations this year will be below the highest price and be similar to the second highest record of $165 per ton. In other hay the top three prices are in the same years but had a smaller range: $125-110 per ton. Other hay prices are also expected to be close to the second highest price of $118 per ton. The complete Analysis & comments report, covering disappearance and winter 2012, the new crop year, and crop year 2013/2014 is available at http://animalag.wsu.edu