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News and information from UC Cooperative Extension about alfalfa and forage production.
Tractor & Hay bales
by Jose Porta
on January 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM
Dear Sir,  
Do you have more information about the international hay market? Thank you very much. Best regards.
by Daniel H Putnam
on January 2, 2014 at 1:28 PM
I'm not sure what type of information you're looking for. Where are you writing from?  
by Vance Hodgson
on January 19, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Hi Dan,  
I am a alfalfa grower in South Africa, getting 40 metric/tons /Ha under centre pivot and am looking to move production to Sudan as input costs here are making it very difficult to survive, especially electricity and diesel. Do you have any connections with buyers and producers in Sudan so that I can contact.  
Excellent article, thank-you.  
Vance Hodgson
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on January 20, 2014 at 8:53 AM
Thanks for the comment, Vance.  
Let's see, for our Yankee Metric challenged folks - that's about 17.8 tons/acre yield. Wow. Unless the DM% is wrong, in the US that would be considered stellar performance for hay. Average in AZ and CA is less than 9 tons/acre, best in the US, and maximum yields have been close to 17 tons, but not average. Unless your costs are extremely high, or value of the crop very low, not sure why this wouldn't make money.  
I've met several people who are setting up hay production there in Sudan using Nile River water, to market hay to Saudi. A higher risk region to do business, though, I understand.  
by Mustafa
on February 2, 2014 at 1:04 PM
hi Dan  
iam form sudan and iam in the hay export industry . although it is risky still it has its differential advantages.  
as vance said nice article.  
vance ,  
happy to help you with any information.  
by Sean
on February 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM
Hi Dan,  
Do you know of any producers in Arizona or Southern California that export to overseas markets? Prices in the PNW are high and is accompanied by high transportation costs as well. It's obvious to me that I need to start sourcing from the PSW. I talk with a few brokers but am always looking for sources of hay to service my overseas customers. Do you know of anyone that would be interested in talking about having dealings in the PSW?
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on February 14, 2014 at 9:24 AM
There are lots of producers in Arizona and Southern California that currently export. We have at least a dozen presses in the SoCal area. You'll have to do some digging down there - the blog is probably not the place.  
by Nathan
on February 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Hi, great article! Does anyone know if any hay from the United Kingdom is shipped over seas?  
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on February 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Yes, some is shipped to Europe. There are emerging markets in the Middle East as well. Haymaking may be a challenge.
by Charles Oden
on March 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Hey Nathan,  
Do you know of anyone exporting grasses from the southeast. We have quite a few farmers struggling to keep their hay businesses running since the margins are so slim. Wondering if exporting might be an option to assist possibly going through Jacksonville or Savannah.
by Chao Liu
on March 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM
Thanks for the excellent article!  
I have read your interview posted in China's website as well. And I am very interested in this industry now!  
Is here any chance to communicate with you, Dan?  
by Cody
on March 25, 2014 at 7:11 AM
Hello, I am a farmer in the Southern California area. We are looking to find contacts to directly export our hay, preferably over seas. Does anyone know how to go about finding these contacts, seems like many come from the Dubai area.  
by Sherralie Majeski
on March 31, 2014 at 4:57 PM
With California in drought, is there going to be any hay to ship?
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on April 4, 2014 at 12:58 AM
There will still be exports in spite of the drought, I would expect.  
by rob
on April 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM
Hello Daniel i am an alfalfa grower from Chile and in my field we grow 23920 cubes(prismatic) of alfalfa per year and i want to know how can we enter in the international market of alfalfa, also how we can get the international prices because we donĀ“t want to get over the limit of the price of alfalfa with the cost of shipment in containers. we will be grateful if you can anwser this, thanks.  
Also a cube of alfalfa is like between (28 - 32) kg
by Daniel H Putnam
on April 4, 2014 at 1:14 AM
To my knowledge there are no independent sources of international prices for hay. So you can either work with a broker or another exporter or do market research on your own.
by Sergio Alvaado
on April 20, 2014 at 4:40 PM
Dear Dan:  
What is the best way to find final users of hay in overseas markets?
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on April 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM
Hi Sergio;  
Those companies and individuals who are exporting hay have typically invested quite a bit of time and energy to find markets and understand their needs. So I think the best way to find the end-users is either to do the footwork yourself, or to work with an established company.  
Meanwhile, US Exporters have an association which has 29 members, The US Forage Export Council:  
They serve the industry as a whole to assist buyers and sellers, but of course represents different companies who are competing for the same markets. You may want to contact them.  
by Nick Reynolds
on May 1, 2014 at 9:16 PM
Very well written article, both informative and easy to read.  
Yes there is a substantial trade in Hay or Fodder into Asia, although not all fodder is the same. With the increase in demand there should be enough demand to go around, although the water issue in the US could limit their exports.  
I am writing from Western Australia, where our exports are Oaten Hay, which is a good compliment to your alfalfa. While demand is stable in Japan, we expect to see demand increase substantially.  
It certainly is an interesting market and one that will become more international over time. I look forward to your analysis in a year or two's time.
Reply by Daniel H Putnam
on May 3, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Yes, the Australian oaten hay is a major factor for importing countries, and affects the demand for the sudangrass, timothy, and other grasses from the US. If you have a bad year, it's good for us, and visa versa. I'm not sure if it affects the demand for alfalfa as much.  
by kk kwok
on May 21, 2014 at 5:19 AM
Dear Hay,  
Some Chinese listed company said that importing alfalfa from US cost 200USD per tone but China grow alfalfa themselves cost 70 USD only. Any way can prove the above statement true or not?  
Moreover, what is the profit margin of alfalfa?  
Thanks a lot for the article, it is very useful.
by Daniel H Putnam
on May 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Hi KK Kwok;  
My name isn't Hay (funny!). However, I'll give it a try.  
I don't think your numbers are right. Domestic Chinese alfalfa hay of high quality will bring close to the imported price, I think, delivered. Domestic Chines poor quality hay isn't worth very much to dairies. I'm not 100% sure but currently Chinese dairies are likely paying closer 300-450 or 500/ton for alfalfa. California price this year is 250-$350/ton.  
Profit margin will depend upon location grown and cost of production vs. price. There is no single margin. Price mostly follows market supply-demand rules, since there is no govt. subsidy.  
Contact USFEC (US Forage Export Council) for their take on this issue, or Chinese or American companies in China.  
by Dana Bartlett
on July 8, 2014 at 6:46 PM
I live in the US Virgin Islands where I have horses and donkeys. Im trying to find a consistent source of 110 lb bales of straight timothy. Thanks
by James
on October 23, 2014 at 1:15 AM
Professor Putnam,  
Excellent information! Much appreciated your effort in leading the industry. Could you please elaborate on the general quality variances between the Chinese grown vs. California grown Alfalfa?  
Go Aggies!  
@coby, very interest to talk to you about your alfalfa!  
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