June 2006

June 2006

Crop Watch

The pollen is flying in the Willamette Valley as harvest is less than one month away for some crops! Three weeks ago, on May 15th new high temperature records were set and some crops were beginning to look stressed. Farmers with irrigation access turned their pumps on. But by May 19th the rains came and showers have been regular with more normal mid-70’s temperature. That took most of the stress away from both the plants...and the farmers.

So what’s our take on how the crops look? Well, in general we would say things look pretty average, especially the tall fescue, and annual ryegrass fields.

Perennial ryegrass fields look pretty good in the South Valley, but most of the acreage is in the North Valley, where there are a higher number of thin stands. We would expect that these thinner stands may suffer an increase in weed infestation. Hopefully, the cleaners will do a good job hanging onto the good seed and pulling out the weeds!

The other crop that may be ‘challenged’ this year is orchardgrass. Common variety acres are down, and some farmers are reporting increased incidences of choke and other diseases in some of their older variety fields.

Market Notes

Stability would be a good term to categorize the closing spring market. As you will notice on our price sheet this month, perennial ryegrass prices have edged up a fraction, annual ryegrass has softened a smidgen, and creeper has inched up a wee bit. All of these adjustments reflect a fairly stable market with no radical activity, nor extensive silence. Generally, prompt markets are quiet.

Looking forward, based on early indications out of Missouri, we won’t see huge drops in KY-31 or turf-type prices for new crop, although some decrease from spring price levels is expected. Oregon-grown tall fescues are expected to follow a similar path.

Fine fescue and perennial ryegrasses, on the other hand continue, to strengthen, although the ceiling on CRF may be nearing. The Perennial Ryegrass Bargaining Association meets this week, but it still might be a while before the industry really knows where we are going to be on new crop perennial.

New crop cleaning pressure will be significant for a number of crops, including tall fescue, annual ryegrass, orchardgrass, and perennial ryegrass. Any forward bookings or indications of your needs will be very much appreciated

Preliminary Yield Data

While it is still early for university annual ryegrass performance reports, we took a peek at some preliminary information out of Georgia on two of our latest, high-yielding tetraploid annual ryegrasses. In Tifton, Attain Tetraploid had the highest yield score followed closely by Big Boss Tetraploid, which had the 3rd highest yield score. In Plains, Attain placed 4th and Big Boss 7th. These two new tetraploids are definitely worth checking out. We have already make limited regional marketing arrangements on the varieties, so don’t delay too long to get in on the fun! Contact us or visit www.smithseed.com/seed/forage/annualrye to learn more.