Spring 2021 was the driest and hottest spring on record. As a result, we had an early harvest. In contrast, Spring 2022 in the Willamette Valley, was one of the coolest and wettest years on record. Our best guess today is that we expect our Willamette Valley, Oregon crop to be 7-8 days later than normal. This late crop will make it difficult for our industry’s seed processers, seed labs, and warehouses to get seed out to customers in a timely manner.
All the rain has helped produce what looks to be an average to above average crop in the Pacific Northwest except for the Madras, Oregon region where they have been fighting a multiple year drought. It has also created above average weed seed pressure throughout the Willamette Valley, and we are expecting a dirtier crop. Cool-wet weather makes it ideal for Poa annua, Poa trivialis, as well as numerous other contaminants to thrive. This will force the seed processors to run slower, resulting in less seed cleaned per hour. With this said, the supply of sod quality and 0/0 seed will be more of a challenge this year.
The crop report from Minnesota and Canada is similar. They anticipate an average to above average crop and a later harvest due to cool weather. The upper Mid-West crop is forecasted to be a week to 2 weeks later than normal.
Historical high seed prices, average to above average seed yields, high agricultural commodity prices, and uncertainties in the economy are just a few examples of why many are nervous about what seed prices will do going forward. We hope to get some resolve when we meet with the Oregon Grass Seed Bargaining Association (OGSBA) to work on establishing the perennial ryegrass and tall fescue crop seed price for 2022. We expect that the growers will ask for higher prices for the 2022 crop, due to greater input costs, land rent increases, ROIs of competing crops and strong open market (not contracted seed) pricing.
There is a historically lower carryover inventory available in the PNW, even though spring consumption was not as good as most had hoped it would be. Much of the carryover inventory seems to be in the hands of consumer products/retail companies. Low carryover inventories, late harvest with processing delays, and freight challenges play a critical role in why we are anticipating seed availability limitations well into the fall season until inventories can be replenished. As the grass seed supply chain starts to fill back up, we could see softer markets as the crop year progresses. At this point it is anyone’s guess on where pricing will go or what the consumption will be. We will do everything we can to get seed cleaned, tested, and shipped to you in a timely manner.
~ Mountain View Seeds
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 www.grasslandrenewal.org