This year’s alfalfa-hay crop looks to be one of the most robust on record, according to USDA’s Crop Production report released Aug. 12.
In the report, an increase of 11% – or more than 6 million tons of alfalfa and alfalfa-mixed dry hay – is expected to be produced this year, the national forecast indicates. That’s a total of 63.6 million tons compared to the 57.6 million tons grown in 2013.
Average yield is estimated at 3.5 tons/acre, an increase of a quarter of a ton per acre over last year’s total. If the yield estimate holds true, it will be the second highest ever, slightly behind the 3.51 ton/acre average recorded in 1999. Much of the U.S. has had good moisture and cooler-than-average temperatures this growing season to produce a bumper alfalfa crop. The exceptions are areas of the West that are dealing with ongoing drought.
Total alfalfa acres harvested for 2014 are estimated at 18.2 million acres, up by 2% over last year’s 17.8 million acres.
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Source: Hay & Forage Grower