August 2008

August 2008

Dark, Very Dark!

While not discounting the necessity for a good fertility program, the reality of higher fertilizer prices is that some consumers will cut back, either out of necessity or preference. Now is a great time to introduce your customers to the value of darker genetics, especially in species that are fertilizer dependent, like perennial ryegrass.

Our two newest perennial ryegrass varieties, Nexus XD and Nexus XR have consistently shown genetic color ratings that are literally at the top of the charts, not in just one location or one year, but in numerous locations over multiple years. They are quite literally some of the darkest varieties produced. In fact over the past three years these varieties have received the HIGHEST NUMERIC score for genetic color, including multiple “9 out of 9” ratings in multiple locations throughout the country.

Both of these varieties are quickly gaining international recognition as well, so don’t delay in making them part of your line-up!

NTEP Trials (Genetic Color)


Nexus XDNexus XR
Carbondale, IL (3x)Mead, NE (2x)
Urbana, ILAmhurst, MA
Amhurst, MALogan, UT
East Lansing, MIBlacksburg, VA (2x)
Fargo, NDEast Lansing, MI
Mead, NE (2x)University Park, PA
Adelphi, NJ 
North Brunswick, NJ 
Corvallis, OR 
Stillwater, OK 
University Park, PA 
Quebec City, QE 
Kingston, RI 
Brookings, SD 
Blacksburg, VA 
Pullman, WA (2x) 
Puyallup, WA (2x) 
Madison, WI 

*NTEP locations where Nexus XD and Nexus XR have received the HIGHEST NUMERIC score for Genetic Color (‘05-07).

Crop/Market Watch

If early inquiries and purchases are an indicator, it looks like the interest in nitrogen-fixing crops like Austrian winter peas, hairy vetch, clovers and legumes could be above average this coming year. Farmers have known that these crops are an alternative source of nitrogen, but like many things, economic factors dictate choices. High fertilizer prices have “awakened” this knowledge. Unfortunately, supplies are not in abundance for most of these crops, therefore prices are up. Take AU winter peas, for instance. Most years this sells for $20/cwt wholesale. This year, it is more than double with minimal inventories. The same can be said of many other legumes.

On another note, it appears that there is no softening of Kentucky bluegrass anytime soon. For that matter the same is true for perennial ryegrass and creeping red fescue. These three species are typically combined in the Northern half of the US to make up most new lawns, and overseeding mixtures. With increased fertilizer and fuel costs, turf professionals, municipalities, and even homeowners will undoubtably be challenged to make their budgets stretch far enough. One solution we expect to see more of this year is increased usage of tall fescue.

Thanks to good yields and increased carryover, tall fescue prices look like they will actually be down from last year. And since tall fescue lawns typically require less fertilizer than bluegrass and ryegrass lawns, we expect more promotion from extension and other independent groups on the use and value of tall fescue, especially in the Northern half of the nation. Additionally, when turf managers visit research field days, as well as other places where they see the newer tall fescues, they are becoming very excited about their appearance. Some of these professionals know only the older varieties and therefore have a false impression of their improved turf quality.

Bottom Line? Higher prices in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and creeping red fescue will likely open the door even more for increase use of tall fescue in the Northern US!