Western Innovator: Researcher and his ‘dream team’ build better turfgrass

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Across the drought-stricken Western U.S., some cities and states have temporarily banned watering “non-functional turf,” including lawns.

Other municipalities, domestic and international, are restricting fungicide use on landscapes.

These and other developments have cast a sudden spotlight on turfgrass management, an important and often-overlooked field of study, and the innovators behind it — people like Alec Kowalewski, Oregon State University turfgrass specialist.

BeaverTurf, OSU’s turf management program, is exploring how to grow turfgrass on sports fields, golf courses and parks in a way that’s more environmentally and economically sustainable.

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DLF Excellence in Research Award given to Dr. Stacy Bonos

Dr. Bonos is the director of the turfgrass breeding program, and associate director of the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University

HALSEY, Ore. – DLF is proud to have recently presented Dr. Stacy A. Bonos, professor of plant biology, current director of the turfgrass breeding program, and associate director of the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University, with its 2021 Excellence in Research award. Dr. Bonos has been on the faculty at Rutgers University for 20 years, co-developing over 250 cool-season turfgrass cultivars. Thanks to her meticulous breeding efforts, significant advancement has been accomplished in turfgrass science related to disease resistance, wear tolerance, and cool weather active growth. Her substantial partnership with DLF has been crucial in the development of new turfgrass cultivars that deliver superior performance with less resource inputs.

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Seed Mislabeling Settlement Reaches $300,000 and Includes Probation Requirements

An Oregon grass seed company was found in violation of seed laws.

A long legal battle may soon be over. Dynamic Seed Source agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement for mislabeling Kentucky 31 (K31) grass seed variety.

An investigation found Dynamic Seed Source LLC, based in Salem, Ore., and owned by Trevor Abbott, mislabeled 161 seed lots of K31, resulting in 207 violations. In Oregon, a single lot of grass seed equals 55,000 pounds of seed, and it took examining more than 2,000 seed lots, the records of more than 200 seed dealers and 100 seed growers.

This investigation has been ongoing, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) issued Notices of Civil Penalty to Abbott and Dynamic Seed Source in June 2019 and amended documents in June 2020, January 2021 and February 2021. In early May, ODA and Dynamic Seed Source agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation.

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OSA Statement on Current State of the Incoming Crop and Resulting Price Levels

August 5, 2021

As the representative organization for seed dealers, the Oregon Seed Association issues the following statement about the current state of the incoming crop and resulting price levels in the marketplace.

Regardless of what role you play in the market, there is no question you have heard of the uncertainty of seed supply and the rapidly increasing and ever-changing prices. What has caused this instability? Read more

Drought in Central Oregon could impact global seed supply

Drought in Jefferson County, Ore., is putting a heavy burden on the area’s farming community, affecting everything from crop production to equipment sales. But the drought is now having wider implications, causing price hikes for some varieties of seed. And the situation could worsen next year.

Troy Kuenzie, president of Pratum Co-op, which markets Jefferson County grass seed in the U.S. and overseas markets, said the price for some grass seed grown in Jefferson County has surged more than 50% over the past year.

Jefferson County farmers specialize in vegetable and grass-seed production and are globally dominant for some varieties. But most of the county is now in exceptional or extreme drought, forcing farmers to cut back their crop production. For some farmers, the water that was planned for the autumn watering of next year’s crop has already been exhausted.

The price hikes in the grass-seed market are felt mainly by buyers who sell seed to golf courses.

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Doubling the Size of the Cover Crop “Pie”

That’s the impetus behind GO Seed’s recent hiring of Dr. Shannon Cappellazzi: to scientifically demonstrate the value of – and increase the market for — cover crops.   By working more closely with farmers and universities to facilitate research on what’s going on beneath the ground, the company hopes to determine which varietals of cover crop, turf, and forage seeds will best help farmers reduce input costs, increase profits, and mitigate the impact of climate change.

“Leveraging Shannon’s expertise in soil and plant relationships and her wide network within the agricultural research community, we’re going to be able to understand so much more about the impact of products and current management practices on the environment,” says Jerry Hall, co-founder and head of breeding for Salem-based GO Seed. “Much of the research will be in the public domain, so this will benefit our entire industry.”

The idea of hiring a highly respected soil health scientist to help shepherd research grants came to Hall when he was asked by a land grant university to design a study on perennial cover crops. He recognized that there was a desire and need for more industry guidance and input on research and Dr. Cappellazzi, who is a member of the Soil Science Society of America and serves as a board member of the Oregon Society of Soil Scientists and the Oregon Forage and Grassland Council, was an obvious choice to help lead these efforts.

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Barenbrug USA Selected as Turf Supplier for 2021 Memorial Golf Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club

When the time came to make the decision on what varieties of turfgrass would be used for the renovation at Muirfield Village, Chad Mark took the time to study his options. The team at MVGC installed plots on the property to get a closer look at how different varieties performed and they connected with several other superintendents to discuss their experiences.

For Chad, the choice was clear. The best decision for his club and his career was Barenbrug.

Learn more about this decision making process and how his selection of Barenbrug products extended well beyond family ties!

https://www.ohiosuperintendentnetwork.com/features/2021/5/31/turf-selection-at-muirfield-village

Originally published by the Ohio Superintendent Network, May 31, 2021.

Tacoma-Based Sprague Named A Top 100 Company in the United States

Sprague Pest Solutions Earns A Top National Ranking For Helping the World Eat Safer Food and Live and Work in Healthier Environments

Tacoma, Wash. (June 8, 2021) – The world deserves to eat safer food and live and work in healthier environments each day. Protecting the food processing, distribution and service facilities for some of the world’s most recognizable consumer brands from threat of food-borne illnesses brought on by pests is a job Sprague Pest Solutions has proudly performed for more than 95 years.

That dedication protects not only physical structures and brands from dangerous pests, but also millions of consumers who buy, prepare and consume the food products that are produced and stored in these facilities.

As a result of its efforts, Tacoma-based Sprague has once again been named to the 2021 Pest Control Technology magazine Top 100 list (based on revenue). The list was featured in the magazine’s May issue.

Sprague, a fourth-generation company dedicated to providing clients with innovative integrated pest management (IPM) solutions, ranks # 2 as the largest pest management service provider dedicated solely to commercial pest management and 24th largest pest management company in the United States. This marks the fourth consecutive year Sprague has ranked in the top 25 on the list.

“We are proud and humbled to once again be named to PCT magazine’s Top 100 List,” said Ross Treleven, president of Sprague. “Our inclusion on the list and emergence as the second largest provider of commercial pest services in the United States speaks to our ongoing commitment to culture, people, innovation and exceptional client care.”

In addition to innovative preventive pest management and consulting services, Sprague offers specialty technical services including risk assessments and audit preparation, heat treatments, commodity fumigations and fumigation alternatives, large-scale bird exclusion and management, and employee and food safety training.

DLF seed featured on new Jack Nicklaus golf course

The new public course opened May 2.

The new American Dunes Golf Club, Grand Haven, Michigan, debuted as a renovation of the Grand Haven Golf Club, partially with the help of retired professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Construction of the new championship golf course, which opened May 2, started in April 2019. Halsey, Oregon-based DLF’s U.S. professional turf team was approached about the project by Jon Scott, formerly of the Nicklaus agronomy team. DLF and its Seed Research of Oregon team along with La Crosse Seed, provided all the grass seed for the course.

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Weber led COSI’s rise to seed industry leadership

Central Oregon Seeds Inc. has been key in making Jefferson County a seed production hub

After 42 years as managing partner of Central Oregon Seeds Inc., Mike Weber turned 70 and retired Jan. 31 from a job that helped establish Jefferson County as an innovative specialty crop area. He will still remain a partner and on the board of directors.

Weber grew up in El Paso, Texas, and later earned a master’s degree in plant nutrition at Oregon State University. In 1976, he came to Madras and worked three years as an OSU extension agent specializing in crops and soils.

During that time, he was approached by six local farmers who were interested in starting a company to produce, process and sell bluegrass seed and garlic.

“We explored the idea and made the decision to venture out into that opportunity and build this facility,” Weber said of the COSI plant located in the Madras Industrial Park.

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