The author is the chief executive officer of La Crosse Seed in La Crosse, Wis.

As fall rapidly transitions to winter, now is a good time to turn our attention to planning for spring forage plantings.

It’s important to note that the last two years have been quite good for new forage seedings in North America. This has brought forage seed supply and demand into perhaps the most balanced state it has been in several years. Further, certain seed production regions — both domestically and internationally — have experienced significant weather challenges this past growing season, which has impacted seed supplies.

The table below outlines the supply outlook for most popular forage species. Common (C) and Improved (I) supplies are noted in parentheses, and maturities are separated if there are differences in the outlook for the species, as is the case for orchardgrass. If there is no designation, the supply rating applies to the entirety of the species.

Increasingly, improved varieties of nearly all forage species are becoming more difficult to purchase without some amount of preplanning. The same is true for species that have small levels of seed production, such as trefoil and meadow fescue, and are even more affected by shortages.

Given all the above, it’s a good idea to work with your seed provider as early as possible to ensure you have access to both the species and varieties that you wish to plant next spring.

This article appeared in the November 2020 issue of Hay & Forage Grower on page 31.

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