The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported last summer that hay inventories reached their lowest levels nationally since 1974. A drought in Texas contributed to the shortage. With these lower inventories, prices have climbed and will likely stay elevated until demand catches up.

The good news is that double-digit rainfalls across parts of Texas and warmer nighttime temperatures have increased prospects for higher yields this year, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. In 2023, Texas harvested 4.6 million acres. In 2022, the state harvested 4.1 million acres. However, these were below the 5.8 million acres harvested in 2021 and the 5 million in 2020.

According to AgriLife Extension state forage specialist Vanessa Corriher-Olson, there are still shortages from last year. However, parts of Central and East Texas have witnessed excellent rainfall this fall and spring. Ryegrass and clovers have been doing well and some producers report harvesting the ryegrass for hay.

Read more about the improved hay outlook for Texas here.