We have had a lot of questions recently from farmers about when novel endophyte tall fescue seed will be available. Farmers can go today and buy either Kentucky 31 or many types of endophyte-free tall fescues at farm supply stores, but may be told that novel endophyte tall tescue seed is not yet available. This is always the case here in mid-August when farmers start shopping for seed for fall planting, and it is important to understand the seed supply chain.
Because novel endophyte tall fescue seed contains a live endophyte, the seed supply chain must insure that the seed carries this technology in a viable form. Almost all novel endophyte seed will be from the new crop to make sure it is fresh and that the endophyte is viable. Most of this seed is grown in Oregon and harvested during July. The seed is then cleaned and sampled for quality control analysis under the guidelines and standards of the state of Oregon and the Alliance for Grassland Renewal. Once quality is verified, which can take up to a month, the seed is packaged and shipped to dealers.
So, if you plan to plant Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue and have heard seed is not yet available, fear not, the seed is in the pipeline and quality and supply look good. Most varieties are now ready to ship to distributors and dealers, so call your seed dealer and ask them to order your seed today. Options this year include Jesup MaxQII, Texoma MaxQII, and Lacefield MaxQII from Pennington Seed; Estancia with Arkshield from Mountain View Seeds; Martin2 Protek and Tower Protek from DLFPickseed; and BarOptima E34 from Barenbrug Seeds. There looks to be an ample supply, but some specific varieties might be a little tight. If you expect to plant, talk to your advisors and make your variety selection, and then get your seed ordered soon to make sure you can get what you want.
The Alliance for Grassland Renewal is a national organization focused on enhancing the appropriate adoption of novel endophyte tall fescue technology through education, incentives, self-regulation and promotion. For more resources or to learn more about the Alliance for Grassland Renewal, go to http://www.grasslandrenewal.org