All hay harvested area projected down in 2014

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The June Acreage report indicates producers’ intentions to harvest slightly less hay in 2014 relative to the previous year as well as slightly less hay than reported in the March Prospective Plantings report. Across all hay types, 57.6 million areas are expected to be harvested, down from the 58.3 million acres harvested in 2013 and the 58.3 million acres projected in the March forecast. Of note is a 2-percent projected year-to-year increase in alfalfa and alfalfa mixture harvested area.

Dry conditions have reduced hay harvested acreage forecasts in some States, including California. While in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, timely spring precipitation is credited with expanding regional hay production. Industry sources report that recent wet weather in sections of the Midwest, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri, have delayed harvests, potentially leading to increased yields, though at the expense of hay quality.

For the week ending on July 7, fully 56 percent of U.S. pastures and ranges were rated as good to excellent. This compares with 49 percent in 2013. In California, New Mexico, and Arizona, where soil moisture is lacking due to drought conditions, between 58 and 75 percent of pasture and ranges are rated as poor to very poor. Demand for dairy hay in California and sections of the Southwest is likely to place pressure on local supplies, encouraging movement of hay from the Midwest to these areas and providing support for robust alfalfa prices.

See full USDA report here

Source: USDA Feed Outlook

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