BILLINGS – Two years ago the U.S. had its lowest hay harvest in more than a century and this year is slated to be the second lowest hay harvest since 1906.
But Montana hay growers are more optimistic than some of their counterparts in other states.
In the latest Prospective Plantings report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 53,726,000 acres of hay is projected to be harvested in 2018. That is a decrease of 58,000 acres from 2017.
Eric Sommer, Montana USDA NASS State Statistician, said Montana hay growers are optimistic about harvesting more acres than 2017.
“In Montana, all hay harvested is projected at 2.7 million acres and that’s 6 percent more than a year ago,” said Sommer. “A lot of that is we fed up a lot of our stocks over the winter and with the drought last year cutting production. So we’re expecting a little more hay acres this year.”
North Dakota and South Dakota are also optimistic about harvesting more acres than last year while some of the states showing the largest decreases in acreage include Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, and Florida.
The USDA expects all-time harvest acreage lows in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.