With that rain and the delay in cutting, buyers are concerned there’s less high-testing, high-appearance hay than normal for the first cutting. So far, prices on new crop alfalfa are averaging $15 to $20 lower than last year and farmer Neal Durrant of Meridian explains:
“You got to look at the overall picture, where the cattle market is at, where the cattle market is lower, where dairy is lower and so with those prices being lower its pushing the hay market lower and it's creating a struggle for us as hay growers, how do we sell our hay but still make a profit on it, make payments and continue to be able to keep doing that,” said Durrant.
And growers agree there’s still too much hay in the Idaho market.
“And now this has made it so that high-quality hay is going to be worth a lot more but regular quality hay, there’s going to be a lot of it, the market will get flooded and there will be plenty of feeder hay for this coming season,” said Winegar.
Farmers are now preparing for a later than normal second crop of hay, hoping the hot dry days of summer returns to Idaho.