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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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Like a baseball player, about the only thing many of us can do at this time of year is sit and stare out the window and hope for spring. The view overlooking hay markets teases with the sunshine of potential, while at the same time is clouded by a number of factors.

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The USDA provided updated hay production and inventory estimates as the calendar changed to a new year and decade.

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U.S. October 2019 alfalfa hay exports surged to a record monthly high of 286,608 metric tons (MT), with sales to China hitting 128,582 MT, also a U.S. record high for any month to any single country.

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Winter arrived early in some parts of the country, and combined with the resurgence of China in the export market, the demand side of the forage market appears to be heating up. While forage quantity might not be the pressure point, quality almost certainly will be.

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Whether it’s harvest quantity or quality related to weather, slumping prices or uncertainty over trade and export markets, there are plenty of factors to play out for forage producers, marketers and buyers entering the final quarter of 2019. Here’s a brief look at conditions as the third quarter came to a close.

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The biggest question emerging from the 2019 forage growing season in many parts of the country concerns quality, whether it’s dry hay, haylage or corn silage. Plentiful supplies of lower-quality forage are pressuring prices, but buyers seem willing to pay for quality – if they can find it.

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