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Your Quarterly Seed Production Market Update

July 2023 #

The spring planting season has wrapped up, leaving seed producers and distributors busy tallying up the results. Spring turf seed consumption across North America was down slightly this year as spring was shortened due to an extended winter and early summer in many areas. Forage sales stayed steady, though, and ending inventories of most forage species are not burdensome. 

Harvest is beginning in Oregon and Washington with yields expected to be below average due to drought conditions. In Minnesota  yields are expected to be slightly below average there as well due to the dry conditions.

In Western Canada, winterkill losses improved but high temperatures and limited rainfall in May and June have accelerated the crops and reduced yield expectations. The Peace River region finally received much-needed rain after an exceptionally dry fall and spring, but not before yield potential was already reduced for this season’s fescue and timothy crops. 

Off-grade inventories have been moving slowly but at significant discounts. Managing problem fields and segregating weedy areas at harvest will be critical to help maximize movement and profitability.   

Perennial Ryegrass #

The perennial ryegrass crops in Oregon are expected to be off by 20 to 30%, but the crops in Minnesota and Western Canada are closer to average. 2023 plantings of perennial ryegrass were lower in major production regions, but current supplies of perennial ryegrass continue to be adequate, with significant inventories in storage in Oregon and Minnesota. Current prices have fallen roughly 15% from last season but are expected to stabilize at that level. Off-grade with noxious weeds, high weed content, or low purity are moving slowly and at significant discounts as ample supplies of good quality seed are available.         

Tall Fescue Update #

The tall fescue crops in Oregon didn’t have a great start but now look close to average. Inventories in Oregon are high, which has reduced prices by approximately 15%, but prices are expected to stabilize at this level. The off-grade movement of tall fescue is slow and at significant discounts as ample supplies of good quality seed are available.        

Alfalfa Update #

Demand for certified/varietal alfalfa continues to be steady, keeping pricing firm. Western Canada is expecting average alfalfa seed yields, however, but acres are down. This will tighten supplies, which is an excellent opportunity for new and existing producers to expand their acres to fill the market demand. 

Red Fescue #

This season’s red fescue crops in Oregon and the Peace River have been hit by drought, which has significantly reduced yields. Prices have come off similar to other turf species and are expected to remain stable as overseas inventory is available to meet demand if needed. 

Timothy Update #

Timothy movement was lower than expected this spring and prices have fallen 10 to 15%.  Timothy yields in Western Canada are expected to be average to below average in most areas with the Peace River timothy crops hit hardest. 

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