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Forage Seed Fiasco

Forage Seed Fiasco

Posted by Elk Mound Seed on Nov 15th 2021

Another year, another challenge. 2021 brought intense heat and drought to a good portion of the seed growing areas in North America. This will have a major influence on seed availability as we move into 2022 and it could throw a major wrench into growers’ crop plans. There are many items that we’ve typically always had that literally have no availability as of now. There will likely be some imports from Europe and New Zealand, but the industry expects to have very little influence on overall availability. Unfortunately, the pricing of these products directly correlates to the lack of availability. While we’re not quite ready to release firm pricing for most of the items listed below, you could expect for some of them to nearly double in price.

Good Fair Poor Non-Existent
Sorghum-Sudan Alfalfa Medium Red Clover Ladino Clover
Italian Ryegrass Balansa Clover White Dutch Clover
Teff Grass Birdsfoot Trefoil Smooth Brome
Festulolium Timothy Meadow Brome
Perennial Ryegrass Meadow Fescue
Orchardgrass
Tall Fescue
Small Grains
Forage Peas

Below, you’ll see a few notes on the major product groups listed above.

Alfalfa: Alfalfa seed supply is fair. Pricing will be stronger than in years past, but barring a disaster, we expect to have alfalfa seed throughout next spring.

Clovers: Most clover seed grown in the Pacific Northwest, and they had record drought and two weeks straight of 100-degree weather during pollination and grain set. The industry is expecting a third of a normal crop.

Forage Grasses: Like clovers, a good portion of forage grasses are grown in the Pacific Northwest. Extreme drought plus record high temperatures equaled a very poor crop. Timothy, perennial ryegrass, and some tall fescue is grown in Western Canada, but these seed growers faced the same challenges as the Pacific Northwest.

Small Grains and Peas: North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Canada probably grow 85% of small grains. The drought in this area was more widespread than we’ve seen in decades, and it has directly influenced the small grain and field pea market.

Availability and pricing of these products will likely become increasingly volatile as we move towards spring of 2022. The team at Elk Mound Seed is trying to be aggressive in procuring these products. We will probably be seeing some species being coated that we’ve never seen coated before just to stretch out supply. Elk Mound Seed will also likely have to alter recipes on seed mixes or be forced to develop new mixes just to accommodate with what is available.

All we can ask moving forward is for you to be patient as this unravels and to keep your eyes on the lookout as we will likely be sending out frequent price updates within the next several months.