North Central Research Extension Center


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New Hay Prices ???

While hay is not traded in daily and open markets as are other commodities as cattle and grains,  price levels and movements are still of interest to many.  Cattle feeders which purchase most of their feedstuffs, cow-calf producers who are either having a short hay crop and looking to buy or have excess hay for sale, landowners who rent out hay ground on Untitled-1.jpgshares, or farmers with damaged crops (such as hail) negotiating with stockmen to clean up and salvage hay; all look for information on what hay is worth and market value.

The price of hay is prone to highs and lows primarily associated with available supplies, needs and demand, and the cost of alternatives such as grain or byproduct values.  For the most part the state’s hay crop is good; though showers and humid weather has made harvest difficult and delayed.  Of course there are pockets of both excessive rain and limited rain on shallow and poor soils contributing to some spot shortages in a locale.  Some severe forage shortages in western Canada and portions of Montana have the potential to create demand and increase price where transportation is feasible.

Under current grain prices a unit of TDN (energy) is available at about $.08 per pound and protein through processing byproducts around $.25 per pound as alternatives to hay.  For beef cattle use this suggests a 65 to 95 dollar value for hay depending on quality.   May survey information on hay prices by NASS reported alfalfa in ND trading at $86/ton and other hay at an average of $56/ton.  Premiums are associated with dairy quality, clean horse hay, and packaging (squares large or small).  Additional hay price information is posted in trade publications often representing hay auctions with regular sales in nearby states of MN, SD, and IA.

The 2014 state averages report of the ND Farm and Ranch Business Management program puts the cost to produce hay on cash rented land to be about $65/ton including labor and management with an average yield of 2 ton per acre for alfalfa and 1.2 ton per acre for grass hay.

Filed under: Livestock Update
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