USDA’s August Crop Production report included alfalfa hay production forecasts for 2022 at 49.1 million tons, down 0.3% from last year and 13.6% below the ten-year average. All other hay production for this year is forecast at 67.7 million tons, just shy of 5% lower year over year and down 7.4% from the ten-year average. Meanwhile, alfalfa and other hay prices are forecast at record levels for 2022.

Texas is leading the way among six of the top ten hay states. Significantly tight hay supplies are the driver of higher prices. Drought and the cost of fertilizer and fuel have contributed to extreme shortages impacting cattle producers. Eight of the top ten states are also the top beef cow states. As the growing season winds down, the 2022 supply data helps explain why beef cow numbers have declined this year as producers continue to face challenges heading into winter and 2023.

Read more on hay supplies and prices here.