Order Your Forage Seed Early

Drought, more demand will tighten supply.

If you expect to plant new pasture, hay, or even ornamental forages this season, order your seeds early because many types are in short supply, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska forage specialist.

Spring frost, summer drought and competition for land reduced the supply of many forage seeds for this spring. If you will need some for planting, get your order in early, he suggests.

Alfalfa should have enough seed to meet demand but some varieties will be in short supply. You also will find much less "so-called cheap seed" available, and this cheap seed will be closer in price to the premium varieties than it has been in a long time. Since savings might be small, consider buying the best varieties available.

Other legumes such as clovers and birdsfoot trefoil as well as native legumes, are in short supply, so if you are planning any pasture renovation, get your seed now while you still can, Anderson says.

Native warm-season grass supply also is tight, but most species should be able to meet demand.

"Specific varieties, though, are short so if variety selection is important to you, and it should be, check out your options soon," according to Anderson.

Summer annual grasses like millets and forage sorghum will be tight but there should be enough seed to meet average demand.

"Possibly the tightest market will be for cool-season grasses, especially orchardgrass, but also bromegrass and some wheatgrasses," he says. "The bottom line is simply this: if you want to be sure to get the specific variety or even the exact species of seed you want, order early. Do not expect to walk into your seedsman's office to purchase and pick up seed next spring or summer. By then, it might be all gone. So order now and you won't be disappointed."

TAGS: USDA
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