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TECHNICAL


Seed crops were damaged by the drought of 2018


is finite and is largely determined by the forecasting and planning that has taken place in the two years prior to harvest. To illustrate, during the summer of 2019 we are in the process of planning which crops to plant for harvest in 2021, which will eventually make it into mixtures in the spring of 2022 - that’s no easy feat! To try and predict future demands requires a lot of time, analysing markets by nation, seed variety, and right down to forecasting the various levels of quality that users will be looking for to ensure we plant the correct quantities of the necessary species to meet requirements. We will begin by analysing our starting inventory and


stock levels. Then it’s looking at wider sales trends - are demands increasing and will this continue? Or is the market levelling off or likely to decline? Finally, it’s looking at the market trends which is where we analyse in detail the species currently available, and any new cultivars or species which may need to be factored into the equation. A classic example of this is the turf-type tetraploids DLF began harvesting five years ago. Having looked at the speed of establishment, cultivar qualities, tolerances, cost and environmental factors (such as the drive towards reduced water and nutritional input) we were optimistic of them becoming a core ingredient within our mixtures.


However, despite our best estimations, they became far more popular than expected which meant that for the first three years we were unable to harvest enough to keep up with demand. Having now adjusted the quantities planted, the crop cycle is catching up.


Equally, the introduction of new species also means working out which species will be reduced. The rise in the popularity of hybrid turf systems has seen a decline on the reliance of turf for stadia, and the number of re-surfaces taking place each year. This means that where varieties such as Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass (SSMG) were once a staple of turf producers due to


PC August/September 2019 131


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