So when you think of farming, there are usually images of corn and wheat that come to mind. But all of the produce that is used across the world comes from a farmer. And that includes grass seed. Imagine trying to plant a yard or football field and there was no grass seed! Well farmers grow that too, and most of the cool-season grass seed is grown in the Pacific NorthWest, mostly in the Williamette Valley South of Portland. There are all sorts of fields growing seed for planting. One issue in it’s production is keeping it standing. A Plant Growth Regulator (PGR) is commonly used to keep the stems erect during pollination especially, and then still keep the grass from laying flat on the ground after pollination to enable a better seed harvest. But PGR is expensive and some grower try to cut back. Here is a field of Perennial Ryegrass seed that is laying pretty flat several weeks now before harvest.
Contract researchers are businesses that will do replicated plot research for a variety of agricultural clients, like fertilizer producers. Hal Lewis is one of the first of these with Precision Ag Research in Amity, OR. Hal mostly concentrates on grass seed production plots and has a variety of tests in place. Here is SAM Eric and Hal on Wednesday reviewing our test plots.
Here is a view across several plots. The objective is to keep the grass more or less upright. It will fall over as the seed head develops. But you don’t want it flat to the ground, as that is, well, just not acceptable We are encouraged by the addition of a certain potassium product at the time of PGR application. That’s all I’ll say till after harvest.
There are also plots with Tall Fescue grass. I must say that I have never been to a research facility that is so dedicated to one crop like grass seed production. Hal knows his stuff and it is an impressive layout.
A PGR application is part of Tall Fescue production as well. Here is a plot with a favorite K product looking just fine.
So harvest is just a few weeks off and I am waiting with a worm on my tongue (bated breath, thanks Mork) to see how they turn out. If you hear from me later on this, then the results were good!