Lower Hay Supplies Seen Ahead

The latest forecast by the Livestock Marketing Information Center shows the 2022 and 2023 total hay supplies could be down from last year to some of the lowest since records began in 1998.

The middle of winter is as good a time as any to check on the nation’s hay supply.  To this end, the LMIC took Dec. 1 hay supply data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and extrapolated it through 2023 in graphs released last week.

For reference, May 1 is the beginning of the hay crop year.




The LMIC showed total hay stocks, the total of production and May 1 stocks, in 2021 at 138.202 million short tons, down 9.036 million, or 6.14%, from 147.238 million in 2020.  Production was posted at 120.196 million tons, and May 1 stocks were 18.006 million.

Hay stocks this year were pegged at 134.416 million tons, down 3.786 million, or 2.74%, from 2021’s 138.202 million.  Production was seen at 117.666 million tons, and May 1 inventory was placed at 16.750 million.

And in 2023, hay stocks were expected to be 134.268 million tons, up 852,000, or 0.63%, from 2022.  Production then was estimated at 117.768 million tons, and May 1 stocks were estimated at 17.500 million.

The next lowest total January hay supply was in 2012 when it was 138.453 million tons.  Stocks in 2018 were slightly larger at 138.948 million tons.




However, hay disappearance was expected to decline this year and next year, the two lowest annual disappearance rates since 1998.

Against a total hay supply this year of 134.416 million short tons, disappearance was expected to be 116.916 million.  This disappearance rate would be down 4.536 million, or 3.73%, from 121.452 million tons in 2021.

Next year’s disappearance was projected at 117.268 million tons, up from 2022’s rate by 352,000, or 0.30%.




The NASS data showed estimates of alfalfa hay production were down last year and this year from 2020’s levels.

Alfalfa hay production this year was seen at about 44.595 million short tons, down 4.650 million, or 9.44%, from 2021’s 49.245 million.  It also would be down from 2019’s production of 54.875 million tons by 10.280 million, or 18.7%.

Other hay production was estimated to be a little lower in 2021 than 2020, but could rise again this year.  This increase would help support Dec. 1 stocks at 79.5 million tons this year, compared with 79.016 million in 2021 and 84.020 million in 2020.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $139.02 to $139.98 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $136.90 to $138.57.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $219.22 to $219.32 per cwt, versus $214.07 to $217.14.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.85 per cwt at $278.96, while select was off $1.01 at $275.04.  The choice/select spread widened to $3.92 from $3.76 with 65 loads of fabricated product and 14 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were steady to $0.05 lower at $1.40 to $1.50 a bushel over the Mar futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.20 over Mar, which settled at $6.35 1/4 a bushel, up $0.14 3/4.

No cattle contracts were tendered for delivery Monday.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Friday was $160.14 per cwt down $0.03.  This compares with Monday’s Mar contract settlement of $165.02 per cwt, down $1.07.