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Hay Market Reports

What affected hay market prices last month? Why? Find out some facts in these monthly reports and charts.

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The hay season is transitioning from harvesting to feeding and/or marketing, as the calendar changes to early November. Marketers reported a noticeable increase in buyer interest, as winter needs came into focus. Here’s a look at post-election-day hay market conditions.

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October brought the USDA’s first harvest estimates for the 2020 haying season. Highlighting numbers of note, U.S. acreage devoted to alfalfa and alfalfa mixture hay continued a long-term trend lower, while average yields of other hay maintained a small but steady increase.

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As a kid, one of my summer rituals was to check out the bale counter each night to see how many small bales of alfalfa we put up that day. For a numbers geek like me, once in a while something catches my eye and forces a deeper look. Such is the case with the USDA’s summary of July 2020 hay exports.

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In normal times, markets would be focused on yield and production as summer winds down. However, in a year when a virus and politics seemingly infect everything, even hay isn’t immune.

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Heading into spring, it looked like U.S. growers intended to devote more acreage to hay in 2020 than in either 2019 or 2018. By the end of June, that anticipated increase had disappeared.

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There are times when many factors have the potential to change hay markets rapidly, and we’re in one of those.

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