October 2023 #
Seed movement in the last quarter has been slow and steady. Consumers and distributors have adjusted to higher interest rates and ample seed supplies of most species, keeping inventories low and ordering seed as needed. This has left more inventory in producers’ hands, which has kept the market competitive with the motivation to create cash flow.
Grass seed crops are in the bin in North America, with underwhelming harvest results in most production areas this season. There are ample carryover inventories to keep the demand well satisfied and prices steady, but lower yields and, reduced acres will begin to draw down inventories. Yields in Oregon and Washington were off 10 to 50%, with early maturing dryland production of fine fescues and bluegrass down the most. Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass yields were off 10 to 20% , with creeping red fescue yields down significantly in the Peace River region.
Perennial Ryegrass #
Lower perennial ryegrass yield and reduced acres in all growing regions will start to reduce inventories but significant carryover will limit the upside this season. Reduced acres will reverse this trend in the medium term, which may be a good opportunity for growers considering planting the species in 2024. Prices have remained steady over the last quarter and are expected to remain firm over the next few months.
Tall Fescue #
Tall fescue continues to find its way into more turf mixes, steadily growing the demand for it. Carryover inventory will limit the upside this season, but it’s one of our most in-demand species for planting next season – and we expect the demand to continue to grow in the coming years. Prices for tall fescue were steady this summer and are expected to continue to be stable going forward.
Alfalfa Update #
Demand for certified/varietal alfalfa continues to be steady and the outlook for the species is strong. The alfalfa crop is starting to come off in Western Canada and will be close to average. Industry reorganization resulted in seed production acres coming out of the market, setting up for a tighter market and continued solid values for growers in the next few years. The alfalfa market continues to be stable and prices are expected to remain near historically high values this season.
Red Fescue #
Red fescue crops in Oregon were disastrous this season, with the Peace River region producing below-average crops as well. Customers have ample supplies of other turf species available at lower values and continue to sub other species for red fescue where they can.
Timothy Update #
Timothy yields in Western Canada are off significantly due to drought but demand has been slow, resulting in a larger carryout from 2022 than initially expected. Prices remain strong compared to historical values but are off 10 to 15% from last year.