September 2006

September 2006

Bestfor Plus

Truly a “specialty forage”, Bestfor Plus is an ideal variety for your portfolio. More than an annual, but not a long-term perennial, Bestfor Plus is perfect for short-term forage needs where you want high quality feed FAST. Oh, and did we mention that Bestfor Plus is considerably less expensive than many other multi-year ryegrasses?

Crop Watch

Average at best, would be the collective word to describe this year’s Oregon-grown crops. Tall fescue yields are generally off 10-15% - although some tall fescue fields yielded only 50%. Perennial ryegrass yields will most likely be summarized as at least 15% below normal. Most of the annual ryegrass fields were closer to average, as was orchardgrass. It would have been nice to have higher fine fescue yields as well. As far as white clovers are concerned, the numbers are also expected to come in about 90% or so of average.

Up North, our Canadian friends tell us that alfalfa acres are down by almost 30% and thanks to the bugs, the overall available seed will be even lower. Canadian red clover has also suffered at the hand of the clover weevil.

The Peace River has been dry, causing Timothy to remain strong and lightening up the creeper crop. The other drought-stricken crop in Canada is smooth brome, with possibly no extra to export into the U.S.

In ID/WA/E. OR, the processors are saying that yields are down 10-25%, depending on the specific area. Some areas also having trouble getting new acres in the ground, as farmers consider other crops over Kentucky bluegrass. This is leading to at least some substance to an argument that Kentucky Bluegrass pricing might be on an upward climb. One processor told us that he thought Kentucky bluegrass would be “well over $1/cwt” for the ‘07 crop if it stays dry through September.

Market Notes

Of course every harvest year brings its own challenges. This year we thought tall fescue harvest and delivery was going to be challenging, but we didn’t know that it would be as tough as it is. Inventories at distributor levels coupled with projected good usage has made for some intense cleaning and shipping coordination. Very few lots of tall fescue have remained “in the barn” for more than a few days. Seed gets cleaned and shipped right away. It has also been the same with annual ryegrass.

Movement on both has been excellent, and while some may start to wonder about spring availability (for tall fescue), right now, most involved in these two crops are just trying to take care of customer needs. That said, it does imply pricing is at minimum “stable.”

Regarding perennial ryegrass, the news is that those farmers and seed companies involved in the PRBA (Perennial Ryegrass Bargaining Association) were unable to reach a decision on where to price the second half of the crop at their August meeting. We understand that they intend on meeting again sometime in the middle of this month. The “market value” of perennial ryegrass has debaters with strong arguments on all sides of the issue, making the potential market price range one of the widest spreads we have seen in a long time. Some believe that the low yield rightly demands a significantly higher price than last year. Others believe that if perennial ryegrass is priced too high, golf courses, landscapers, and other professional applicators will simply reduce their seeding rates to match their budget dollars. Those expressing this concern believe that this may affect usage for multiple years.