Due to the water crisis in California, Seth Hoyt, agricultural economist and author of the Hoyt Report, expects farmers to take the first and second cuttings of alfalfa and then pull the stand out or let it go to seed. He expects farmers with water to sublease land for other crops like tomatoes and cotton or make the switch to these crops themselves. Nevertheless, definitely expect to see fewer cuttings of alfalfa this year.
Hoyt says prices for alfalfa will probably rise by the end of summer or beginning of fall; however, this could be somewhat dependent upon milk prices.
“We're just one step short of a disaster here,” Tim Larson, a diversified grower in Kings County, Calif., was quoted as saying in Ag Alert, California’s state agricultural newspaper. “I've already taken out about 160 acres of alfalfa and we're trying to figure out how to save our grapes and pistachios. We're looking at what else we can cut back, but after a while there's not much left.”