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TECHNICAL


This year, yield forecasts UK trials


are for some crops to be up to 50% down on average, meaning Agrostis capillaris will remain in relatively short supply


in getting seed to establish during the autumn also effected the newly planted crops for 2019 harvest. Grass seed is normally produced on a two-year cropping cycle. These can then be left for a third year when required, however the seed yield is usually significantly reduced. The weather experienced in 2018 led to the poor establishment of many first-year crops, which not only reduces yields in the first year, it can also mean a reduced second year crop. In the worst cases, some crops were ploughed out.


All of this culminates to the position the market finds itself in today - the lowest stock levels we have experienced in decades. In particular, Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass and Tall Fescue harvests are significantly reduced while there is currently very little rolling stock of Red Fescue and Bentgrass - the latter of which is a real concern for the UK market. The unavailability of certain cultivars has seen DLF remove a number


of mixtures from the market to ensure only those that meet our quality parameters remain on sale. However, that’s not a tactic employed by all seed companies, so for those managing surfaces where quality is paramount, you should be aware that the seed in the bag may not always be the original catalogue specification, or the quality you normally expect.


Unfortunately, when seed supplies run short, high purity seed can be harder to source. From the harvest ‘pot’ you’ll have a certain, finite percentage which can be considered as high purity. The smaller that pot is to begin with, the less of the high purity seed is available. We’re all aware of the pressures Turf Managers face to achieve higher quality surfaces, while the tools at their disposal to achieve this are becoming increasingly limited. That’s where, despite the challenges we face with things like the weather and wider economic factors, it is vital that as industry suppliers


we are looking for ways to deliver new products into the market to help them achieve their aims.


So, while we’re facing historic highs in demand and lows in crop yield, for DLF it’s not all doom and gloom! In early 2019, we launched ‘DLF Select’ - a new programme within our production chain to safeguard quality, ensuring that only the cleanest fields are used to produce the purest crops. It took major investment through all levels of planning, growing, harvesting, cleaning and logistics to secure the delivery of seed that far exceeds the baseline EU purity rules and standards.


To meet the targets for the DLF Select programme, and having already forecast an upturn in overall industry demand, we also began increasing our plot acreage in the main production markets. For the European Amenity industry approximately 50% of seed is grown and harvested in Denmark. Holland is another major production area,


2019 has, so far, been ideal for crop growth PC August/September 2019 133





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