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Oregon grass, legume seed production bounced back in 2012-13

By Eric Mortenson

Capital Press

The recession knocked down Oregon's grass seed industry, but the 2012-13 harvest report shows it is recovering and finding economic balance.

Oregon’s grass and legume seed industry continued its recovery in 2012-13, reaching a value of nearly $462 million, according to a report from Oregon State University.

The 13.6 percent increase in production value over the previous year came despite only a 2 percent increase in grass seed acreage, which accounts for 90 percent of the combined crop value. That indicates strong seed prices, said William C. Young III, professor emeritus at OSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Science.

The value increase is good news for growers, but still falls well short of the record $550 million recorded in the pre-recession years of 2007-08, Young said.

In addition, Oregon’s grass seed acreage last year, 415,916 acres, was 21 percent less than was harvested in the peak years of 2004-05.

“Perhaps, however, this two-year plateau of between 408,000 and 415,916 acres presents a better balance in supply and demand economics,” Young wrote in his annual report.

Legume seed crop acreage actually declined slightly from 2011-12, but the $44 million production value was a new record, Young reported.



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