Alfalfa Acres Up 2.4%; All-Hay Down
U.S. hay growers will likely harvest more alfalfa and alfalfa-mix dry hay acres in 2014 – an increase of 2.4% totaling 18.2 million acres. That compares to 17.8 million alfalfa acres produced in 2013, according to USDA’s June 30 Acreage report.
But a 3% decrease in other hay acres, totaling 39.5 million acres, is expected to be harvested this year compared to that produced in 2013. On average, all-hay acreage will decrease by 1%, from 58.25 million acres last year to 57.65 million in 2014.
The expected increase in alfalfa acres can be attributed to timely spring precipitation throughout the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, according to the USDA report. The biggest acreage gains are likely in New Mexico, by 52% to 220,000 acres; Oklahoma, by 35% to 310,000 acres; Wyoming, by 20% to 540,000 acres; and by 15% in Colorado and in Washington, to 750,000 and 470,000 acres, respectively.
North Dakota alfalfa acreage will decline about 5% to 1.54 million acres, down from 1.62 million acres in 2013.
Virginia growers will only harvest 75,000 acres of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures, a 17% decline from 90,000 acres harvested last year. Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York will see alfalfa acreage declines as well.
All-hay record high acreages are predicted in Oklahoma and Florida, according to the report. All-hay record lows are predicted for Nebraska, Maryland, Vermont and Rhode Island.