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Beef Buzz News


Katelyn McCullock Sees High Hay Prices in the U.S.

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:49:46 CDT

Katelyn McCullock Sees High Hay Prices in the U.S. As pasture and range conditions continue to deteriorate, according to the latest Crop Progress Report by the USDA, suggest tight hay supplies ahead. Katelyn McCullock, director and senior economist for the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), told Ron Hays that hay prices are rising.

Right now, 45% of the continental U.S. is experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions, most of which is in the western half of the country. Some of the areas being hit the hardest are known to produce much of the Nation's Alfalfa Hay crop. While some of the other hay crops are produced east of the Mississippi River, a good amount is also grown in drought-stricken areas of the country. As drought conditions creep eastward, larger areas of the Great Plains, including Oklahoma, are beginning to struggle.

"Nationally, alfalfa prices hit over $200 per ton, which is important because of where we are in the marketing year," McCullock said. "There is not going to be a substantial amount of hay brought in to decrease the price, from here on out."

The season-average price of alfalfa is more than $200 per ton, with prices hitting close to that next year, McCullock said. She said low numbers of alfalfa production are partly due to high prices of competing crops, meaning farmers can get more bang for their buck by producing crops other than alfalfa. That means future alfalfa numbers likely will not see a large acreage boost, she added.

"Even if you return to normal yields, we just don't see that production number providing that much relief next year," McCullock said.

Other hay varieties are following alfalfa, McCullock said. In July, other hay prices jumped nearly $10 per ton, which McCullock called a huge increase in price. Right now, other hay is more than $150 per ton, which McCullock said was a surprise to her and the rest of the staff at LMIC.

Naturally, hay prices begin to increase as pasture and range begin to fatigue in late summer, McCullock said. She said except for a slump usually seen in Sept., she predicts alfalfa hay and other hay prices will continue to rise in the seasonal sense of things.

"It is going to be a very tough hay-price situation for livestock producers for both the rest of this year and next year," McCullock said.

She urged producers to watch the availability of hay. She said she is seeing the issue of availability affect regional areas or smaller, due to high gas and diesel prices keeping hay from traveling long distances.

LMIC provides economic analysis and market projections concerning the livestock industry through a unique partnership between state university extension specialists, USDA economists, industry associates and LMIC staff, according to the website. Click or tap here to get more information about LMIC.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Katelyn McCullock as they talk about the high prices of hay in the U.S.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

   


   

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