Hay Supplies Ample In East Texas | Hay & Forage Grower

Hay Supplies Ample In East Texas

Rains boost production, bring early armyworms
Jul 15, 2014

An abundance of rain across East Texas helped producers make plenty of hay so far this season.

March and April were cooler than normal, while May and June brought significant moisture in his area, says Ross Kinney, a hay grower from Kilgore, about 120 miles east of Dallas.

“I have not irrigated at all this year. I haven’t turned my system on. Usually by the middle of June we have to start irrigating because it’s so darn dry.

“As a result, we’ve had a lot of hay produced in this area,” he adds. “A lot of hay got wet because it rained more often than it was supposed to, but people did really well overall.”

Prices remain relatively steady, according to Kinney. Small square bales are selling for $7-$8 each out of the field. Round bales, depending on quality, run anywhere from $65 to $70 each.

“People have been able to produce three or four round bales per acre because of the rain we’ve had,” he notes. “Right now in our part of the country there is more than an ample supply of hay. Somewhere out in West Texas, it is probably much drier and hay production is not doing so good.”

One downside to all the rain is a “tremendous bout of (fall) armyworms[1],” he says. Outbreaks typically follow bouts of rain, and the pests feed primarily on bermudagrss, wheat, ryegrass.

“It happened about a month to six weeks earlier than normal. It was absolutely due to the early rainfall.”

In parts of West Texas, where moisture has been at a premium, grasshoppers have been the problem, Kinney says.

He raises 200 acres of bermudagrass and markets most in 60- to 65-lb small squares to horse owners within 120 miles of his farm.

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Alfalfa prices were $5-15/ton lower as many dairies backed off the market and changed feed rations, according to USDA’s July 11 market report. Prices for other classes of hay were steady to weak, and trade activity was light to moderate.

In the Panhandle and High Plains region, small square bales of premium- to supreme-quality alfalfa were $330-360/ton, or $10-11/bale. Large squares of premium- to supreme-quality alfalfa priced at $265-295/ton delivered. Large square bales of coastal bermudagrass sold for $202/ton delivered.

In the Far West and Trans Pecos region, small squares of premium-to-supreme alfalfa were at $280-360/ton, or $8.5-11/bale. Large squares bales of premium-to-supreme alfalfa sold for $245-280/ton.

In the north, central and eastern regions, small squares of premium-to-supreme alfalfa sold for $230/ton, or $7/bale. Good- to premium-quality coastal bermudagrass, in small squares, was $230-265/ton, or $7-8/bale. Large rounds of good-to-premium coastal bermuda priced at $120-150/ton.

In southern Texas, good- to premium-quality coastal bermudagrass sold for $230-265/ton, or $7-8/bale. Large rounds were $120-170/ton, or $60-$84/roll at good to premium quality. Fair- to good-quality bermudagrass hay was at $100/ton or $50/roll.

Contact Kinney at 903-522-0308 or ross@esawireless.com[3].

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Hay Prices Show Slight Decline In Much Of U.S. | Hay & Forage Grower

Hay Prices Show Slight Decline In Much Of U.S.

Drought-plagued states still pay more for hay
Jul 1, 2014

U.S. alfalfa-hay prices dropped by $2/ton and all-hay prices by $5/ton in June compared to the previous month’s totals, according to USDA’s Agricultural Prices[1] report released June 27.

The overall average U.S. alfalfa price declined slightly to $222/ton in June compared with the May $224/ton average. It was only a bit higher than the June 2013 price of $220/ton. The average June all-hay price was $197/ton, a decrease of $5/ton compared to May’s $202/ton figure. It averaged $2/ton less than the June 2013 per-ton price of $199.

A number of Western states paid even more for all hay last month than they did in May. Dry California’s average all-hay price for June was $264/ton, an $18 hike from its May level of $246/ton. From May to June, Washington all-hay prices jumped $26/ton to $225/ton, while Idaho prices leapt $25/ton to $218/ton. Oregon averaged a price increase of $12/ton to $220/ton and New Mexico increased $10/ton to $266/ton. Arizona’s June average was $240/ton, the same price as reported the previous month. Nevada’s all-hay price settled at $230/ton, a $5/ton drop since May.

The nation’s lowest all-hay prices were $89/ton in North Dakota, a drop of $11/ton from May’s average, and $90/ton in Missouri, a $24/ton drop from the previous month’s total. The average price in Kentucky dropped to $112/ton, down from $130/ton in May.

The highest average alfalfa prices in June were reported from California at $280/ton, New Mexico at $275/ton and Texas at $262/ton. The lowest alfalfa prices were found in North Dakota at $91/ton, Montana at $130/ton, Nebraska at $133/ton and South Dakota at $135/ton.

Washington saw the biggest hike in alfalfa prices for the month of June – jumping $30/ton – followed by Idaho, up by $25/ton. Both states averaged $220/ton June prices. Kansas June prices topped out at $212/ton, a $23/ton hike from the month-earlier average.

Minnesota reported the largest price drop in alfalfa prices, by $16/ton, for an average June price of $170/ton. Missouri alfalfa growers saw their average prices drop by $10/ton, to $180/ton.

Hay Prices Surpisingly Stay At High Levels | Hay & Forage Grower

Hay Prices Surpisingly Stay At High Levels

Hay-acreage decrease, inflation may be causes, economist says
Jul 15, 2014 Jeff Holmquist

Hay prices have remained strong during the first part of 2014 despite decent carryover stocks and adequate production, according to Matt Diersen, ag economist with South Dakota State University.

“I’m surprised hay prices are as high as they are,” he says.

One reason for the price stability is the slight decrease in U.S. hay acres planted in 2014. USDA’s June Acreage report estimated that 57.6 million hay acres will be harvested this year, down from 58.3 million harvested acres last year.

“Fewer acres to be harvested across the country means what’s out there you have to fight over,” Diersen says.

The other contributing factor is the inflation seen across the entire ag sector.

“The price level for all farm goods is higher than it was a year ago, even taking lower corn prices into account. That’s probably given hay a 5-10% price boost.”

As a result, prices remain similar to last year’s levels, even though declining prices might be expected as the new crop rolls in, he says.

Hay producers across the country will continue to see prices influenced by California dairies and exporters having to find hay in other states due to the continuing drought in the Southwest and West. A favorable early hay crop in the Pacific Northwest could help deal with supply needs further south, he says.

“How that’s going to play out, I’m not sure,” Diersen says. “Eventually, they may need to draw hay from this part of the country (the Midwest). But I think there’s going to be a bit more production in this part of the country to meet those needs.”

Growers across the U.S. are experiencing a mixed bag when it comes to the hay supply and quality. Here are what two growers and another economist say is happening in their areas so far this year.

Persistent rains have lowered hay quality in Illinois and the Upper Midwest, says Don Brown, Jr., a hay producer and dealer in Davis, IL.

“We just had our county fair and everybody was asking what the haymaking situation was,” he says. “I told them it’s like religion … you get to make hay one day a week. It’s pretty depressing.”

He’s not alone in his misery, Brown adds. “I’ve talked to people in South Dakota, Kansas and Wisconsin. We’re all battling the same thing.”

But Brown was fortunate to have quality carryover stock from last winter, when he had back surgery and stopped marketing crop. Now that he’s back on his feet and three weeks of continuous rain had damaged the current crop, calls are pouring in.

“People are looking for good, dry hay,” he says. “I sold a lot of last year’s inventory during the month of June. I still have a little bit left.”

Prices held at last year’s levels, Brown reports, with good-quality dairy hay at $250/ton and beef-cattle feed at $100/ton. He sells alfalfa, alfalfa-grass and straight-grass hay in 3 x 3 x 8’ bales to dairies, beef operations and horse owners across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

His 200 acres of new-crop hay, says the former president of the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council, has been a challenge. “I have 40 acres of hay on the ground all the time, so I ruined a lot,” he admits.

“But we started cutting second-crop alfalfa July 8, and it looks good. I just hope the weather holds.”

The early hay season has been poor in many parts of Oklahoma, says Brandon Drinnon, a hay grower in Taloga.

“It started off so dry, and we all started holding our heads down,” he says. “We just thought we were in for another dry year all the way around.”

Some dryland growers didn’t take a first cut, while irrigated farms fared a bit better, he reports.

“We’ve missed at least one cut, and some people have lost two. A lot of times we get two-thirds of our crop on first cutting, but we obviously didn’t get that this year.”

Some timely rain in June, however, improved prospects for a decent year.

“We are all glad to get what we’re getting,” he says. “We do remember last year when we didn’t get anything.”

Growers don’t have much supply on hand, so prices remain strong in the Central Plains, Drinnon says. Dry-cow hay fetches $140/ton while good-quality dairy hay remains at $240/ton. The prices are very similar to last year’s at this time.

“We’re not going to have an abundance of hay for a long time,” the grower concludes. “But we will have some hay to move this year.”

He puts up alfalfa hay in 3 x 4 x 8’ and 4 x 4 x 8’ bales on 200 dryland acres and sells to dairies in New Mexico and Texas. Drinnon also buys hay for resale from growers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

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Overall, hay supply and quality in the Southeast and along the East Coast have been good this year, according to Curtis Lacy, ag economist with the University of Georgia.

Recent dry weather helped growers at first cutting, Lacy reports, but now much of the Southeast could use a shot of rain again.

“We did have a lot of rain early in the year, so we had a lot of growth. But it has been dry here the last several weeks,” he says. “If we actually get some rain in the next few days or weeks, we’ll be in pretty good shape. People will be well on their way to second cutting.”

Hay prices are stable in Georgia and the surrounding region, Lacy says, and he doesn’t expect them to shift much in coming months.

Reach Dierson at 605-688-4864 or matthew.diersen@sdstate.edu[2], Brown at 815-238-8372 or don.brownjr@yahoo.com[3], Drinnon at 580-334-8960 or drinnonhay@hotmail.com[4], or Lacy at 229-386-3512 or clacy@uga.edu[5].

Alfalfa Acres Up 2.4%; All-Hay Down | Hay & Forage Grower

Alfalfa Acres Up 2.4%; All-Hay Down

Timely spring rains, in areas, help boost production
Jul 8, 2014

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[1].

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.

Rains Keep Washington Hay Growers From Fields | Alfalfa content from Hay & Forage Grower

Rains Keep Washington Hay Growers From Fields

The second cutting of alfalfa is under way in much of Washington, but recent rain has caused some decline in quality, says Chep Gauntt, a Pasco, WA, grower.

“It did damage equivalent to a lot of heavy dews. But there’s not been a lot put up yet,” says Gauntt, who, with his son, Drex, harvests 1,300 acres of alfalfa and timothy. About 90-95% of their center-pivot-irrigated crop is exported.

As second cutting progresses, the price for “really nice, double-compressed bales … might be $240-250/ton,” he estimates.

Alfalfa and timothy prices in the Columbia Basin have been steady, with good demand and light to moderate supplies available, according to the July 3 USDA Market News report.

Alfalfa large-square bale prices were, for supreme quality, $260-270/ton; for premium, $260/ton; good quality, $240-245/ton; and fair quality, $220/ton.

Large squares of timothy grass were priced at $270-280/ton for premium quality and $260-270/ton for good quality. Small squares of premium timothy traded at $280/ton. Small squares of premium orchardgrass sold for $260-275/ton.

To contact the Gauntts, email gaunttfarm or call 509-521-4245.