Hay prices nearly doubled from 2020 to 2022, but why? Is it exports? Exports remain a small portion of hay utilization. In 2021, just 17% of total west coast production was exported.
But before we get to exports, let's look at where we started the production season. On the first of May, hay stocks were lower year over year. Low inventory to start the season gave a tailwind to hay prices, allowing prices to rise early in the season.
Grass and Alfalfa hay production are below the 5-year average in many states. The combination of low beginning stocks and lower production fundamentally supports higher prices.
Exports remain a small portion of total hay demand, and if you listen to the Hay Kings Podcast episode:
you will find out that grass hay exports are not supportive of hay prices. Many factors drive higher hay prices. Limited supply is among the most significant driver in 2022.