May 1 hay stocks at record low

All hay stored on U.S. farms on May 1 totaled 14.2 million tons, down 34% from a year ago and the lowest May 1 stocks level on record. Based on estimates contained in USDA’s May 10 Crop Production report, hay disappearance from Dec. 1, 2012-May 1, 2013 totaled 62.4 million tons, compared with 69.3 million tons for the same period a year earlier. 

Among individual states, record-low May 1 hay stocks levels were established in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin. 

With the exception of California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island and South Carolina, hay stocks as a percent of production decreased from last year nationwide. Last year’s historic drought led to a substantial decrease in hay production, and therefore beginning stocks for many states. In many areas, the limited availability of native feedstuffs forced producers to feed their grazing beef herds earlier than normal. Additionally, a cold, wet spring has limited pasture growth causing prolonged dependence on supplemental roughage and feedstuffs in portions of the Midwest.