Alfalfa hay market is segmented per applications into three main categories including meat/dairy animal feed, horse feed and poultry feed. Global demand for processed meat is projected to grow by more than 5% CAGR from 2016 to 2024. Dairy products demand is also increasing, mostly in the developing and least developed countries as a cost-effective protein source and this will contribute to the growth of alfalfa hay market significantly.
Alfalfa Hay Market size is expected to grow at a moderate rate in the forecast spell due to its easy availability as animal fodder for dairy cows, cattle, sheep, horses and goats and properties such as disease resistance, high-yield, high feed value and less susceptibility to extreme weather conditions.
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The increasing dairy and animal products demand will be a principal driving factor for the global alfalfa hay market growth. Lifestyle change from active to sedentary will increase the nutritious food demand among the consumers. Increasing awareness about low carbohydrate diet and ketogenic diet plans for healthier lifestyle will also increase milk and other dairy products demand. Increasing life expectancy and milk based diets of senior citizens will also catalyze the industry. Dairy products demand will witness growth by around 2% CAGR in the coming years, boosting the overall alfalfa hay market.
Increase in the number of high yielding cattle and fodder demand for these breeds will also drive alfalfa hay market growth. Rapid urbanization and colonialization of grasslands and expansion of city limits, resulting into shrinking natural grazing ground, will require enhancement in the yield capacity of cattle to meet the growing cattle product demand. Global urban population rose from a little over 3.5 billion in 2010 to over 3.9 billion in 2015 and will further increase in the forecast spell. Increasing animal feed demand for the high yielding farm cattle will catalyze the global alfalfa hay market in the coming years.
Decreasing agricultural land due to rapid urban development and competition from high value crops are the major threats for the alfalfa hay market. Farmers are opting to grow high value crops because of the higher profits earned posing a serious challenge to the product. Water shortages and lack of irrigation are also hindering the alfalfa hay market as it requires a substantial amount of water to grow.
By product types alfalfa hay market is segmented into bales, pellets, and cubes. Bales are the most common product type with many specifications like two string bales, three string bales upto six string bales weighing up to half tons, square bales weighing 25 to 35 kg and round bales with a diameter of 1.4 to 1.8 meters weighing 500 to 100 kg. Owing to its availability in many sizes and weights and easy transportability, bales are more popular than pellets and cubes. Finely chopped and fermented alfalfa called haylage is also used for dairy cattle because it retains more nutrient levels and is palatable for cattle.
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North America has the most land under cultivation for alfalfa hay, followed by Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. In Europe, Spain alfalfa hay market exported more than 200 kilo tons in 2015 and has a significant share followed by France and Italy. Trade value in North America is higher than Spain because of superior crop quality. Asia Pacific alfalfa hay market is lagging because of unfavorable government policies prioritizing food and cash crops, high grain prices and lack of large commercial farms. Major importers of the product in 2015 were Saudi Arabia followed by Japan. Middle East and Africa region will also show significant growth during the forecast years due to increasing demand for dairy products.
Major companies in alfalfa hay market are Coaba, Alfalfa Monegros, Los Venteros, SL Follen Company, Grupo Osés, Al Dahra ACX Global, Border Valley, Hay USA, Almarai Company, Knight Ag Sourcing, Anderson Hay & Grain Inc., Haykingdom Inc., Bailey Farms, Green Prairie International, Cubeit Hay Company, M&C Hay, Standlee Hay Company, Riverina (Australia) Pty, Glenvar Hay, McCracken Hay Company. Saudi Arabia based Almarai Co. bought farmland in California and Arizona because they were unable to farm the product in their own country due to unavailability of water. This has rekindled debate about the friendly water laws prevalent in U.S and how it gives advantage to thirsty, low profit crops.
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