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Will's Windmill - U.S. hay prices are at record highs this year

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Will's Windmill - U.S. hay prices are at record highs this year
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

On a national basis, hay prices are at record highs. For the current U.S. hay crop-marketing year (2007-08), the national average all hay price is forecast to be about $130.00 per ton, surging past the prior record set last year of about $110.00 per ton. This crop year, the national alfalfa hay and other hay price are both forecast to be record high at over $135.00 per ton and over $115.00 per ton, respectively. Record high hay prices are the result of very tight supplies and strong demand, as all feedstuff prices are closely related based on nutritional components. That is, current hay prices largely reflect high energy and protein values as indicated by corn and soybean meal prices.

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In Minnesota and locally, hay prices have followed this upswing in price, with 'dairy quality'150 plus RFV hay commonly selling for over $150 per ton, which is generally higher than the national price.

My colleague, Dan Martens, Extension educator from Stearns, Benson and Morrison counties in Minnesota, has been tracking prices at the Sauk Centre Hay Auction for a number of years.

You can find this history of selected groups of hay from previous years and a summary that is updated through the current hay auction season at the Crop eNews Web site: www.extension.umn.edu/cropenews. You're welcome to call Dan Martens with questions about this report at 1-800-964-4929.

Hay prices differ on a regional basis due to the high cost of transporting hay. Still, national data provide important market indications. Since 2004, U.S. hay production has steadily declined with U.S. hay production in 2006 being the smallest since 1988. In 2007, U.S. hay production increased but at about 140 million tons it was still the second smallest since 1993. At the beginning of the 2007-08 hay crop year (May 1), U.S. hay stocks were just 15 million tons, the smallest in relevant history (since 1960). With normal winter weather, U.S. hay stocks as of May 1, 2008 may not increase much. Current forecasts put May 1, 2008 national hay stocks at 15.4 million tons, just 3 percent above 2007's.

Preliminary forecasts suggest U.S. hay acreage harvested will increase some in 2008. But competition from other crops, especially in irrigated areas, will remain intense. Overall, national average hay prices are expected to remain well above a year ago for the balance of the 2007-08 crop-marketing year.

Hay prices, like other feedstuffs, will remain very high next crop year (2008-09) and may average over $100 per ton in 2008-09 for the third consecutive year. These high hay prices, coupled with high grain prices, could have a negative impact on profitability, if livestock and livestock product prices fall. Producers may have to look at alternative feeds and alter feeding strategies.

For more information, please contact me: Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker County Extension educator, at 1-218-732-3391, 1-218-846-7328 or by cell at 1-218-252-1042; you can also reach me by e-mail at: ylini003@umn.edu.

Upcoming workshops in December

n High Tunnel Greenhouse Workshop in Detroit Lakes: Dec. 13, 8:30 a.m. in the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn. For more information, contact Larry Zilliox, 1-320-762-3890.

n Corn Colleges -- Intensive All Day Training Session for Corn Producers: Dec. 19, University of Minnesota-Crookston campus; Dec. 20, Minnesota State University-Moorhead campus. For more information, contact Doug Holen, 1-888-241-0843.

For more information, please contact me: Will Yliniemi, Hubbard/Becker County Extension educator at 1-218-732-3391, 1-218-846-7328 or by cell at 1-218-252-1042; you can also reach me by e-mail at: ylini003@umn.edu.

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