USDA estimated all hay stored on U.S. farms as of May 1, 2011 totaled 22.2 million tons, up 6% from a year ago and the largest May 1 total since 2005. The news among major western dairy states wasn’t so good, however.
While hay stocks increased across much of the nation’s midsection, the largest percentage declines were in the western half of the United States, led by California, Idaho and Nevada. At 160,000 tons, California’s May 1 hay stocks were the smallest since at least 1999; Idaho stocks, at 280,000 tons, were the smallest since 2001; and, at just 46,000 tons, Nevada’s total is the smallest since 1999. Stocks were also sharply lower along the Atlantic Coast.
Lingering winter weather conditions in many western states forced producers to feed livestock longer into the spring months. Drought conditions in many areas along the Atlantic Coast caused a lack of available winter pastures.
In contrast, Texas, at 2.5 million tons, had the largest May 1, on-farm hay inventory since 2008; Wisconsin, at 1.12 million tons, had the most since 2007.
U.S. hay disappearance (a proxy for use) from Dec. 1, 2010-May 1, 2011 totaled 79.9 million tons, compared with 86.3 million tons for the same period a year ago.
The hay stocks estimates included in USDA’s May 11 Crop Production report.