Stocks of conventional alfalfa seed may be a bit tight the next two years as a result of the recent court ruling preventing the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa, say industry officials.
"If I was a producer, I would order my seed early and get it delivered so you make sure you are able to have what you need," suggests Mike Velde, Dairyland Seed. "It is possible the seed supply will be short in 2008 and 2009 because seed inventories had been geared in a certain direction. The price of non-certified seed will probably have a spike because those inventories could be short."
Joe Waldo, NK Brand Seeds, Inc., agrees. "With the success of RR alfalfa in the first two years after release, a lot of conventional seed production acres were switched to RR for 2008 and 2009 sales. The court's ruling came too late this spring to put in more conventional acres. I think we should be okay the spring of 2008. My big concern will be for the fall of 2008, especially if we see an increase in spring seedings, which is quite possible as hay prices continue to rise."
Dennis Gehler, Croplan Genetics, says the demand for alfalfa seed has lessened. "Because we have been hit with competition from other crops, I think, for the most part, seed supply will be okay unless people hoard seed. But growers who are thinking about seeding conventional alfalfa varieties should make the commitment as soon as they can."
A May 3 permanent injunction outlawed the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa until USDA completes an environmental impact statement. The judge in the case ruled that existing Roundup Ready alfalfa fields can continue to be grown, harvested and sold, provided safeguards are implemented to minimize commingling of Roundup Ready and conventional alfalfa. Read more about the injunction at hayandforage.com.
Contact Velde at 608-676-2237, Waldo at 763-593-7324 and Gehler at 651-765-5710.