International Herbage Seed Group 2019 Conference

Chris Schmid of Mt. View Seeds, Salem, Phillip Vines of Rutgers University and William Meyer of Rutgers eye a modified John Deere swather, part of an equipment display at Oregon State University's Hyslop Research Farm during Industry Day at the International Herbage Seed Group 2019 Conference. Schmid is a graduate of Meyer's seed research program at Rutgers.

Robert Dent, a seed producer and seed company owner in Tasmania, Australia, said the International Herbage Seed Group Conference, held in Oregon, May 14-16, was an opportunity to pick up the latest information on growing pasture seed.

“We are having some difficulties in getting reliable seed yields,” Dent said May 15, while touring Oregon State University’s Hyslop Research Farm as part of the conference’s Industry Day. “So, we are very interested in some of the work being done here.

“This is sort of the home of seed production,” Dent added.

For Mark Whittal, a farmer from the United Kingdom who grows perennial ryegrass as part of his crop rotation, the conference was an opportunity to see another part of the world and witness seed production in Oregon.

“I am here to see if there is anything I can pick up to help me with my business at home and to meet other growers from around the world,” Whittal said.

Thomas Holst, chief consultant for the Danish Seed Growers Association, viewed the conference as an opportunity to hear about production issues faced by growers around the world.

“We would like to have a feeling on how seed production is going on around the world in places like Argentina, New Zealand and here in Oregon,” Holst said. “The networking part is very important to me.”

Dent, Whittal and Holst were part of more than 315 people on hand for Industry Day at the annual International Herbage Seed Group Conference, the first IHSG conference held in Oregon since 1989.

“We have people here from all continents, except Antarctica and Africa,” said OSU Extension agent Nicole Anderson, who is co-editor of the international group’s newsletter. “This is the biggest delegation for the IHSG in its history.”

Industry Day included presentations in the morning and the annual Hyslop Farm Field Day in the afternoon. The day was patterned after an Industry Day held in New Zealand during the 2013 IHSG conference, said OSU seed crop physiologist Tom Chastain, outgoing president of the international organization.

“I really enjoyed that and the interaction between practitioners in the field and researchers from all over the world and I wanted to have something similar today,” Chastain said.

The conference drew 145 main participants, Anderson said, while an addition 173 additional participants took part in Industry Day, marking it as the highest attended Hyslop Farm Field Day in recent memory.

Sebastian Mari, a seed production manager in Uruguay who has been to three IHSG conferences, said the 2019 version offered a rare opportunity.

“This is like coming to the origin of where and how to produce seed,” Mari said. “I think that is why all of us are here. Oregon is very well known for seed production, seed quality and that is why people from all parts of the world have come to this conference.”

“Oregon is a special place,” said Ignacio Ducos, part of a seed company in Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. “When it comes to grass seed production, it is the most important place in the world, so this is a great opportunity to learn and see how things are done here.”

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