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Dry hay is third-highest valued U.S. cash crop in 2015

Progressive Forage Grower Editor Dave Natzke Published on 25 February 2016

As a cash crop, all dry hay ranked as the third-highest valued U.S. crop in 2015, according to USDA’s annual crop values report, released Feb. 24, 2016.

The value of all dry hay harvested in 2015 was estimated at $16.84 billion, trailing only corn ($49.04 billion) and soybeans ($34.54 billion).

Separately, dry alfalfa hay ($8.73 billion) and all other hay ($8.11 billion) were each valued at more than $8 billion in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth, respectively.

Adding in the value of haylage and greenchop, the USDA estimated the value of hay-based forages at $19.13 billion in 2015.

Prices, values lower

Like other field crops, dry hay saw declining prices and values in 2015 compared with the previous two years.

Hay Crop Values Table 1

Prices (Table 1)

All dry hay averaged $151 per ton in 2015, down 12 percent from 2014 and 14 percent less than 2013.

Alfalfa hay averaged $163 per ton, down 17 percent from 2014 and 18 percent less than 2013.

All other hay averaged $125 per ton in 2015, down 4 percent from 2014 and 10 percent less than 2013.

Hay Crop Values Table 2

Values (Table 2)

The total value of all dry hay was down nearly 12 percent from 2014 and 15 percent less than 2013.

The value of alfalfa hay was down 17 percent from 2014 and 18 percent less than 2013.

The value of all other hay was down 5 percent from 2014 and 11 percent less than 2013.

Individual states

Based on total value, California led all states for all dry hay, alfalfa dry hay and hay-based forages. Texas topped the “other dry hay” category.

About the report

USDA’s annual crop values report includes average prices and values of production for major field crops and many specialty crops. All prices are marketing year average (MYA) prices. For the U.S., the marketing year is May 1 to April 30 of the following year.

Each state MYA price is based on sales in the months comprising its marketing year, and are as follows:

  • April 1 to March 31 for Arizona and California
  • May 1 to April 30 for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia
  • June 1 to May 31 for all other states

To see the full report, click here (PDF, 944KB).  FG