June 2005

June 2005

Crop Watch

What is 5 to 6 inches long, with a short tail, gray in color, likes to eat grass leaves and roots, and will also climb grass stalks and clip off seed heads? It’s none other than our Oregon farmers’ latest menace - the vole. Once again this field mouse has been terrorizing fields in the Willamette Valley and has actually caused significant problems in some fields, most noticeably chewing the stems and severing plant stalks. Unfortunately, it has also been so wet this month (unlike the early spring drought) that even the farm cats are deciding to stay in the barns! Seriously, there has been some damage from both mice and heavy moisture - the extent of both really won’t be known until the farmers get in the fields. For more information on the villain vole, visit http://forages.oregonstate.edu/organizations/seed/osc/ brochures/water-quality/voles.html.

Market Watch

Three cheers for a cooperative May! Not too much rain and not too much heat made the past month a useful month for most all sectors of turfgrass and forage seeding. Many distributors feel like they got part if not all of the missed spring business back with hopes of even some more this month. But the markets are all now turning to forward to new crop, and activity is generally quiet in most crops. As you might have noticed in our price sheet, most everything is staying flat, with the exception of tall fescue, where the combination of low old-crop inventories, higher Midwest KY-31 prices, and an average-at-best looking crop, lead us to believe that we will be paying a noticeable increase at the grower level this fall.

Those New Ryegrasses are sure looking good!

Although data is just starting to come in from last year’s forage trial throughout the south, we just couldn’t wait to share a little bit of data on Big Boss and Attain. There are some good reasons to get excited about these new varieties, but to some it up in a few short words, Big Boss looks to be a real producer. Data from Overton, TX and Tifton, Georgia place Big Boss at the top of both trials. The only non-experimental variety to have higher raw scores was Jumbo in TX, but in Georgia Big Boss was out-yielding everything including Jumbo. Bottom line - Big Boss means big yields! See www.smithseed.com/seed/forage/annualrye/bigboss.htm for more info.

The other impressive variety is Attain. Attain is later maturing, has very impressive regrowth, excellent disease resistance and consistently high yields. We think Dr. Gordon Prine really dialed in some nice disease resistance on this one! And remember, especially for grazing, if a variety has disease issues, grazing consumption will decrease - even when tonnage is high. So a variety like Attain, that is a great yielder and a very disease resistant grass, is going to really make your farmers happy. Lots of details and data at www.smithseed.com/seed/forage/annualyrye/attain.htm!

Titan Ltd. and Rendition hang tough in New Jersey

We just got a peek at the latest data from Rutgers wear tolerance trials, and once again, Titan Ltd is at the top. Only one other variety had a higher score (but still statistically equal). Additionally, Rendition continues to show itself as a leading variety in tough turf situations. Make sure you have THE TOUGH ONES in your line-up this fall!

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