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Hay production up 11%

Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay for 2014 is forecast at 63.6 million tons, up 11 percent from 2013, according to USDA’s Crop Production report issued this morning. Based on August 1 conditions, yield is expected to average 3.50 tons per acre, up 0.26 ton from last year. If realized, yield would be the second highest on record behind only the 1999 average yield of 3.51 tons per acre. Harvested area is forecast at 18.2 million acres, unchanged from June, but up 2 percent from 2013. New Mexico and  Pennsylvania are expecting record high yields in 2014. With the exception of the continuing drought in the far western United States, much of the growing season has been characterized by good moisture and cooler than average temperatures. This resulted in favorable conditions for most of the Nation’s alfalfa hay crop.

Production of other hay is forecast at 77.2 million tons, down 1 percent from 2013. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 1.96 tons per acre, up 0.02 ton from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 39.5 million acres, unchanged from June, but down 3 percent from 2013. Producers in Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Wyoming are expecting record high yields in 2014. Adequate moisture, excluding the far western States, has producers expecting similar yield and production as last year.

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