Ag. Dept: Utah alfalfa production is on the rise

Based on Aug. 1 conditions, alfalfa hay production in Utah is forecast at 2.23 million tons, according to the most recent Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

This forecast is up 20 percent from the 1.85 million tons produced in 2018. Utah farmers and ranchers expect to harvest 530,000 acres of alfalfa hay this year, a portion of which is grown in Grand County, up 30,000 acres from 2018. Alfalfa hay yield is expected to average 4.2 tons per acre, compared to last year’s yield of 3.7 tons per acre, according to a press release from USDA.

Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay for 2019 is forecast at 55.4 million tons, up 5 percent from 2018. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 3.29 tons per acre, up 0.12 ton from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 16.8 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast, but up one percent from 2018.

Production of other hay is forecast at 75.7 million tons, up seven percent from 2018.

Based on Aug. 1 conditions, the United States yield is expected to average 2.11 tons per acre, up 0.15 ton from last year. If realized, this would represent a new record high for the United States, surpassing the previous record of 2.09 tons per acre in 2016.