Pick a low-maintenance lawn grass this month


CORVALLIS — Lawn looking lackluster? Mid-August to early October is a sweet spot in the calendar year to sow fresh grass seed or replace an existing lawn throughout the state, according to Alec Kowalewski, turfgrass specialist for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

If you wait until November, you’re too late — the next best bet to establish a new lawn comes around the following April to May.

“The problem is that when you get later into the year, annual bluegrass takes over,” Kowalewski said. “If your turfgrass seed germinates late in the fall, it will not out-compete annual bluegrass, a very problematic, profuse weed due to our wet climate.”

Wondering which type of turfgrass is best? If you live in Western Oregon and full sun embraces your lawn, Kowalewski recommends perennial ryegrass. If your lawn lies in the shade or you don’t irrigate much, fine fescues are a great choice, he said. But Kowalewski advised picking tall fescues if you don’t water much and your lawn gets full sun.

“Fescues are very drought-tolerant,” Kowalewski said. “Tall fescue is the most drought-tolerant and fine fescue is both drought- and shade-tolerant.”

For Eastern Oregon homeowners who deal with a significant amount of snowfall, Kowalewski suggested Kentucky bluegrass. But remember, it needs irrigation.

Science has not created a kind of turfgrass that stays green all year without any water — yet.

“Tall fescue is the closest thing to it,” Kowalewski said.

To establish a new lawn, decide first whether you are completely redoing your lawn or freshening up scruffy-looking patches of turfgrass. If you’re tearing out your old lawn, see the OSU Extension article “Two ways to uproot your lawn” athttp://bit.ly/19Lndd0.

If you’re repairing an old lawn, first aerate it with a core-cultivating machine and seed the turfgrass into the existing lawn. It’s a practice known as inter-seeding or renovation, Kowalewski said.

“The most important part is adding fertilizer while seeding,” Kowalewski advised. “From now until the rainy season starts, you’ll need to irrigate lightly every day to every other day to keep the grass moist. About one-tenth of an inch each time you water is adequate.”

Select turfgrass-specific starter fertilizer. Perennial ryegrass will germinate in about 7-10 days and will establish deep roots in 2-3 weeks. Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue and fine fescue will germinate in about 21 days and take about two months to take root. When grass has developed strong enough roots, it’s time to start mowing it and playing on it.

Want to support Oregon grass seed growers with the purchase of your new lawn?

“The cool thing is that most of the grass available on the market is grown right here in Oregon,” Kowalewski said.

Click here to read the original article from the Mail Tribune.

Inclusion of GMO crop policy in PERS, tax negotiations riles some Democrats


A policy staunchly opposed by environmentalists has entered the negotiations over a package of public pension cuts and new tax increases, The Oregonian has learned.

Senate Bill 633 would have prevented local governments from regulating the propagation of genetically modified plants. It passed the Senate in May, but died in the House during the Legislative session under pressure from environmentalists and some farmers.

Now, a modification of that policy is back on the table. In discussions Tuesday on a budget package aimed at boosting funding for schools and public services, legislative leadership included a new version of the policy from SB 633 as a bargaining chip.

What left the plan, which was shown to lawmakers earlier this week, is a reduction in money match benefits for people who left state employment without retiring.

Cutting benefits on so-called “inactive” members of the Public Employees Retirement System is considered legally risky by some lawyers, who think the Oregon Supreme Court is more likely to strike down a policy reducing money match benefits for a certain class of retirees.

Removing the money match portion of the PERS cuts would reduce the long-term savings envisioned by the package from $5 billion to $4.6 billion.

In brokering the deal, Democrats allowed a modified version of SB 633 to be included in the increasingly complex package of legislation.

Under terms of the latest deal shown to rank-and-file lawmakers last night, the rules barring local governments from passing limits on genetically modified crops would exempt Jackson County, where voters will weigh in on a ballot measure banning the crops next year.

Some Democrats are privately scoffing at the new package, which also includes tax cuts for some businesses and new tax revenue that together would raise roughly $200 million in new revenue over the next two years.

Republicans are also unhappy with the reduced PERS savings.

It’s unclear what the deal’s fate will be in the coming days. Lawmakers are in Salem for routine meetings but aren’t in session. But Gov. John Kitzhaber has taken the opportunity of having lawmakers in town to try to broker a deal between the parties on new PERS cuts and increased taxes.

Kitzhaber has said he would call the Legislature into a special session Sept. 30 if lawmakers can reach an agreement.

Click here to read the original article from The Oregonian.

Grass seed prices on the rise


Lower production and higher demand have boosted the 2013 prices for perennial and tall turf-type fescue grass seed to near-record levels, industry insiders say.

“These are the highest prices we’ve seen since 2007,” Oregon Seed League Treasurer Drew Bell said of fescue. He began working as operations manager at Coleman Seed and Hay in Gervais, Ore., in that year.

Mark Simmons, executive director of the Oregon Grass Seed Bargaining Association, said Missouri produced an oversupply of Kentucky 31 tall fescue, but the K-31 market price is “holding its own.”

He added an oversupply of perennial ryegrass from Europe has found its way to the East Coast and is selling for about $1 per pound.

“It has put a ceiling on Oregon perennial grasses,” said Simmons, although he believes the stagnated perennial prices will be “short-lived.”

“I think things are setting up to have continued strong prices into 2014,” Simmons said.

Oregon Seed Association President Bryan Muntz said perennial ryegrass had a 40-million-pound carryover this year, which has helped move seed from harvest into the market quickly. It’s a much lower number than the 100 million he estimates the industry experienced at the height of the recession.

“There wasn’t a lot of carryover this year, so everybody needs everything,” he said. “Warehouses are cleaning seed around the clock.”

In 2012, 377,420 acres of fescue and annual and perennial ryegrass valued $337.7 million were harvested in Oregon, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service figures released in July.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service 2013 forecast released in February, estimated that crop acreage planted will vary less than five percent per variety. Still, yields were less than previous years.

“Because of the dry weather last fall and dry May weather, the crops did not get the harvest we normally get,” Simmons said.

Growers are also opting to scale back grass seed production in favor of other crops, said Simmons.

“It’s not that demand has cut back,” Simmons said. “It’s that production has been cut back dramatically.”

Matt Herb, research director of Oregro Seeds and past president of the Oregon Seed Growers Association, said the 2008 economic downturn and an overstock of grass seed led Oregon growers to seek new revenue-generating crops. Many turned to wheat — as many as 200,000 new acres were planted — and other crops, according to Herb.

“We’ll never go back to the heyday of grass seed,” Herb said. “It’s a good thing when you have diversity among species and markets.”

One hurdle facing grass seed growers is a lack of information to base crop projections on, Simmons said.

“We desperately need better information. In 2008 and 2009, we were over production for a number of years before being hit by the dramatic recession, and it caused a great deal of damage to the seed industry,” Simmons said.

Click here to read the original article from the Capital Press.

5 year trend of Oregon Ag

OREGON NATURAL RESOURCE REPORT — Five-year trend shows ups and downs in Oregon Ag.

Oregon agriculture’s tremendous diversity is reflected in the fact that most crops and livestock are on the upswing the past five years while a handful are slow to reach 2007 production levels. Despite the ups and downs, the state once again enjoyed a record high agricultural production value in 2012 at $5.4 billion. That bottom line number is a half billion more than reported in 2007.

Newly revised figures released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), with assistance from Oregon State University, contain preliminary numbers for the 2012 value of production. The overall trend shows farms and ranches have not only bounced back from the days of recession, they have eclipsed 2011’s high water mark of $5.3 billion. Out of the top 40 commodities, only nine saw decreases in 2012 from the previous year. Compared with 2007 production, only eight have dropped.

Over the past 20 years, the leading Oregon agricultural commodities have generally stayed the same, with an occasional newcomer entering the picture. Oregon’s 2012 value of agricultural production– the total value of crops and livestock sold off the farm– includes a top ten list that contains familiar names but a rank order that varies from year to year:

​Greenhouse and nursery products: ​$745 million
​Cattle and calves: ​$653 million
​Hay: ​$638 million
​Milk: ​$497 million
​Wheat: ​$472 million
​Grass seed: ​$411 million
​Potatoes: ​$172 million
​Pears: ​$134 million
​Corn for grain and silage: ​$119 million
​Onions: ​$115 million

At least one longstanding member of the top ten has dropped out– Christmas trees ranked #12 last year with a value of $102 million. At different times in recent years, both blueberries and cherries have cracked the top ten but now find themselves at #11 and #14 respectively.

Over the past two decades, greenhouse and nursery production has been Oregon’s top ranked agricultural commodity nearly every year. At $745 million, the sector is up slightly from 2011 but remains 28 percent below its record high of more than $1 billion in 2007. The recession’s impact on
the housing market negatively impacted sales starting in 2008. It has been a long, slow journey back for the industry sector, which is still way short of that billion dollar mark of five years ago.

Cattle and calves have regained second place with a strong showing in 2012, gaining 7 percent from the previous year and an impressive 40 percent from its production value in 2007. The commodity was ranked #3 both in 2011 and five years ago.

At #3, hay remains one of the leading crops in Oregon, but its value last year dropped 12 percent from 2011. However, compared to 2007’s production value, hay has increased 38 percent. Remaining at #4, milk also saw a one-year drop in 2012 (6 percent) but remains 21 percent higher in production value than 2007’s number.

Wheat prices have been relatively high the past couple of years, allowing the one time leader of Oregon agriculture to bounce back into the top five. Prices softened a bit in 2012, dropping the value 6 percent from 2011. That’s still 31 percent better than 2007, making wheat another commodity that is generally trending up.

At #6, the story of grass seed parallels greenhouse and nursery products. The recession and corresponding housing market slump reduced demand and sales following 2007. While last year’s 20 percent increase in production value from 2011 was encouraging, grass seed’s value is still 19 percent below what it was in 2007, when it ranked second of all Oregon ag commodities.

Potatoes have ranked #7 for many years, but its value dropped 4 percent from 2011. That is still nearly 18 percent better than it was five years ago.

After greatly struggling in 2011 and dropping out of the top ten for a year, pears rebounded nicely in 2012, reaching #8 and increasing in production value by 73 percent from the previous year. That’s the highest percentage jump of any of the top commodities. The value of pears has also increased 58 percent from 2007.

For the second straight year, corn grown for grain and silage is in the top ten at #9, increasing in value by 10 percent from 2011. No other commodity has grown more dramatically over a five year period as the production value for corn grown for grain and silage has increased a whopping 138 percent since 2007.

Rounding out the top ten is onions, which dropped off the list in 2011 after being a mainstay for many years. Onions have shown good growth over both a one-year period (+25 percent) and a five-year period (+135 percent). Its return to the top ten pushed out blueberries and Christmas trees.

Outside the top ten, only a handful of commodities have trended down over the past five years– and none dramatically. Christmas trees, apples, grass and grain straw, horses and mules, cranberries, and strawberries have all seen production values drop from 2007.

Notable growth over the five-year stretch has been recorded for blueberries (+65 percent), wine grapes (+37 percent), cherries (+52 percent), mint (+67 percent), and blackberries (+56 percent). Watermelons (+204 percent) and sheep and lambs (+95 percent) have grown considerably as well, but the percentage growth is a little misleading since their overall value is not quite as high as some of the others that are trending up.

It’s hard to predict 2013 production values, but a five-year history suggests the general trend will be up.

For more information, contact Bruce Pokarney at (503) 986-4559.

Click here to read the original article from the Oregon Natural Resource Report.

Sprague Pest Solutions Unifies Oregon Brand Presence

Eugene, Oregon – Blue is coming to the south coast of Oregon and we aren’t talking about the crystal blue skies of late summer and early fall.

The blue we are talking about is that of Sprague Pest Solutions, one of the Pacific Northwest’s longest serving and respected pest management service providers. Sprague, which was founded in 1926, has been doing business as South Coast Xterminating since it acquired the Oregon company in June 2012.

Like South Coast Xterminating, Sprague is family-owned and operated and services both residential and commercial customers. The company, entering its fourth generation of family management, has built its business on the core principles of providing innovative pest management solutions and exceptional customer service.

“During the transition period our clients have shown they care the most about our people and the friendly, personalized service they receive,” says Alfie Treleven, CEO of Sprague Pest Solutions. “We respect the trust and confidence they have placed in us and look forward to continuing those relationships.”

Among the changes customers can expect to see include the service technicians wearing the traditional blue Sprague uniform, new Sprague decals on service vehicles, and updated service reports with the Sprague name and logo. The company’s website (www.southcoastxterminating.com) will also be redirected to the Sprague website (www.spraguepest.com). The changes are expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Sprague, the 32nd largest pest management service provider, has been servicing commercial and residential customers in the Oregon market since the early 1990s. In addition to serving the South Coast communities of Bandon, Brookings, Florence and Gold Beach, Sprague has service centers in Portland and Eugene.

Sprague Pest Solutions delivers innovative pest solutions to commercial and residential pest management customers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Sprague is a Copesan Services partner.

# #

Media Contact:
Carrie Thibodeaux
Sprague Pest Solutions
253/405-2590 / carriet@spraguepest.com

Read the original media release here.

World’s top forage seed firm picks up Pickseed


One of Canada’s top forage seed and turfgrass companies is poised to become part of the world’s biggest.

The Ontario-based Pickseed Companies Group, with operations across Canada and in Oregon, will be formally acquired Friday by Danish grass and clover seed firm DLF-Trifolium for an undisclosed sum.

Pickseed’s owners Tom and Martin Pick, sons of company founder Otto Pick, signed a sale agreement with DLF last month for the company and all its operations across North America, which today represent about US$100 million in annual sales.

“We felt that it was important to sell to an entity that would have a good cultural fit with Pickseed. We are confident that DLF-Trifolium as a dedicated turfgrass and forage crop seed company will be able to carry forward and develop the Pickseed business and legacy,” the Pick brothers said in a release.

DLF CEO Truels Damsgaard in July described the Pickseed deal as “a major strategic step forward” for his company.

“Pickseed is a true turfgrass and forage crop seeds company, and it has a strong organization with dedicated employees,” he said. “We have a common understanding of the products and everything entailed in this segment of the seeds industry.”

DLF, Damsgaard said, is “looking forward to developing the Pickseed business in North America, and to further develop a strong platform to promote DLF-Trifolium forage products in Canada, and to bring the Pickseed product potential through the DLF-Trifolium global network.”

Pickseed started in 1947 as Otto Pick Agricultural Service, focused on direct sales of improved forage seed to southern Ontario livestock producers, based on the then-relatively-new concept of “permanent pasture.”

Otto Pick’s sons and his wife Marie took over the business following his death in 1959, expanding into turfgrass products and expanding both west and east with a Manitoba seed production unit, a processing plant in Winnipeg and a distribution site at St-Hyacinthe, Que.

The company later expanded into the U.S. in the 1970s through Oregon-based Pickseed West, and took over one of Canada’s biggest forage and turfgrass seed businesses, the seed division of Maple Leaf Mills, in 1981.

Based at Lindsay, about 40 km west of Peterborough, starting in 1993, Pickseed’s acquisitions since then have included Oregon-based Roberts Seed Co.; Agribiotech Canada; Land o’ Lakes’ forage and turf arm Seed Research of Oregon; and, in 2008, the Nipawin, Sask. forage seed business of Regina’s FarmPure Seeds.

Operating under the Pickseed, Mapleseed, Seed Research of Oregon and TurfOne brand names, the company now has facilities at Lindsay, Winnipeg, St-Hyacinthe, Nipawin, Edmonton, Dawson Creek and Abbotsford, B.C., and in the U.S. at Corvallis and Tangent, Ore.

Pickseed’s buyer, which bills itself as the world’s biggest producer of grass and clover seed, started as a Danish farmers’ seed co-operative in 1906. That co-operative, DLF AmbA, still owns 95 per cent of DLF-Trifolium.

DLF now operates subsidiaries in Denmark, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Holland, France, the Czech Republic and New Zealand and books sales of over US$350 million per year, holding a worldwide market share of about 20 per cent in the grass and cool-season clover business. — AGCanada.com Network

Read the original article here.

Sprague Pest Solutions Names Lance Gray As Eugene Service Center Manager

Tacoma, Wash. – Sprague Pest Solutions announces the promotion of Lance Gray to the position of Service Center Manager of its Eugene, Oregon service center.

Gray joined Sprague in 2009 as a service technician and worked his way up to Operations Manager for Eugene and the Southern Oregon coast market prior to his promotion.

“Lance Gray is one of those rare individuals with hands-on talent and a gift for leadership,” says Jeff Miller, general manager of Sprague Pest Solutions, the United States’ 32nd largest pest management service provider. “We are fortunate to have Lance leading our growing Eugene operation.”

Sprague, which currently operates service centers in Eugene and Portland, has been servicing commercial and residential customers in the Oregon market since the early 1990s. The company specializes in providing custom pest management solutions for a wide array of Oregon industries including agriculture, hospitality, food processing, food service, transportation and healthcare.

Sprague Pest Solutions, founded in 1926, delivers innovative pest solutions to commercial and residential pest management customers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Sprague is a Copesan Services partner.

Read the original press release here.

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Media Contact:
Carrie Thibodeaux Sprague Pest Solutions 253/405-2590 / carriet@spraguepest.com

Boy Mows Lawns, Raises $16K for Tornado Victims

ABC News Blogs —

An 11-year old boy has raised $16,000 mowing lawns across Texas, all for tornado victims in Moore, Okla.

“It really feels good,” Dyllon Orthman of Dalhart, Texas, told ABC News. “I help them because they need the money, and they help me because it makes me feel good.”

Dyllon got the idea from a school fundraiser in June.

“Dyllon’s school was raising money for the Oklahoma tornado victims, and Dyllon asked if he could bring in $20 for the fundraiser,” his mother, Kristi Orthman, told ABC News.

“I told him that he could make the $20 if he mowed lawns.”

That night Dyllon told his mom that he wanted to spend the whole summer moving lawns for donations, she said.

“I have mowed 87 lawns so far,” Dyllon said, and he has raised $16,000, according to his mother.

The money has come from mowing lawns and from independent donations. One Oklahoma company donated $10,000 to tornado victims on behalf of Dyllon Orthman, said Dyllon’s his mother.

“Every single penny is donated to OK Strong, a disaster relief organization that has partnered with FEMA, which provides aid to the families affected by the May tornadoes,” Kristi Orthman said.

“I want to thank everybody who helped me,” Dyllon said. “Especially my mom, dad and sister. We had a lot of fun and laughter.”

“He’s just a wonderful boy,” Rose Marie Lopez, Dyllon’s grandmother, told ABC News. “He has no idea just how kind he really is.”

Read the original story here.

Important Meeting August 12 & 14

Oregon Department of Agriculture has asked us to share an opportunity with you. On August 12 & 14 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will be holding listening sessions on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in Ontario (12th) and Yakima (14th). The meetings will be a good opportunity for growers, packers, and processors to learn more about the FSMA and provide feedback to the FDA. All of the details for the events can be found here.

Attendance by growers at these meetings will be important for several reasons. First, the FDA does not come to the Pacific Northwest very often so this is a great opportunity for Oregon farmers to interact with an important federal agency. Second, in recent years activists have showed up to these types of listening sessions and raised unrelated issues with the agencies to push their agendas. If no growers are there to speak, the agencies can leave with the impression that the activists are speaking for all Oregon farmers. With the FDA having some regulatory authority over pesticides and biotechnology (GMOs), it would not be surprising to see people opposed to those tools show up to these listening sessions and push their agenda. It is crucial that growers attend these meetings and make sure we do not miss any opportunities.

Please share this meeting announcement within your group and encourage members to attend. It would be great if association and commission executives and board members could attend these important meetings.

Paulette will be attending the Ontario meeting, but in the meantime please let us know if you have any questions.


Scott, Paulette & Sandi

Scott Dahlman
Executive Director
Oregonians for Food & Shelter (OFS)
o. 503.370.8092


OSU George Hyslop Professorship Fund Report

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Oregon State University recently published a report on its George Hyslop Professorship Endowment Fund for 2012-2013. The fund is used to enhance and focus research and education efforts both in teaching and Extension on specific problems of the Oregon seed grass industry.

Click here to read the full report.