April 2023 #
Spring is here, and with it, seed is starting to move out of distributors’ warehouses. Cooler spring temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest US are slowing demand and distributors have been cautious to keep inventories low to reduce carrying costs at higher interest rates. This has resulted in more seed sitting in producers’ inventory, putting pressure on prices for some species. Competitive production areas in Minnesota and Oregon have been aggressive sellers.
Crop conditions have been variable in key global production regions. Harvest in New Zealand is nearing completion — and is estimated to be slightly above average. The country mainly produces forage-type perennial ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, and white clover. In Oregon, last year’s dry fall is leaving its mark as grass seed crop conditions in the Willamette Valley are below average, reducing expected yields from that region this season.
Markets for off-grade production have slowed significantly with more good quality supplies available. This has reinforced the importance of minimizing off-grades in the field to maximize your returns this coming season.
Perennial Ryegrass Update #
Current supplies of perennial ryegrass are adequate and seed companies are taking a measured approach to this year’s plantings. Prices have come off last year’s record highs but remain at historically strong values. Markets for off-grade production with noxious weeds, high weed contents, and low purity are currently limited, which has slowed movement of these lots.
Tall Fescue Update #
Oregon is the primary production region for tall fescue and its crop is off to a poor start this season. Demand for the grass has remained firm which should keep prices steady, but more acres are needed to fill this demand. There are still limited marketing opportunities for off-grades with noxious weeds, high weeds, and low purity, slowing movement of these lots.
Alfalfa Update #
Demand is steady from China and the US which has kept prices firm for certified/varietal alfalfa, while prices for common seed have fallen. Some major players in the alfalfa seed market have indicated they’re exiting production and sales of the species, providing the opportunity for others to expand their acres to fill the market demand. But, as with perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, there are limited marketing opportunities for off-grades with noxious weeds, high weed contents, and low purity. Expect slow movement of these lots.
Timothy Update #
Timothy is seeing a steady demand with additional seed production acres needed.