Oregon State University has recently released the 31st annual Seed Production Research Report in both hard copy and an online version.  This publication has long been a forum for reports from a variety of seed production researchers, not only from OSU but also from affiliated institutions and agencies.  For much of the Report’s existence, the publication has been edited and produced by Bill Young – now retired professor and extension agronomist in seed production.  This year’s installment was edited by OSU Extension staff members Andrew Hulting, Nicole Anderson, Darren Walenta, and Michael Flowers.

The report is home to articles on a wide range of topics concerning the production of seed from species found in Oregon.  Topics in this year’s edition include weed, insect and disease management; plant growth regulators; irrigation management; and seed testing.  Here’s a link to the online version of the Seed Production Research Report:

2012 Seed Production Research Report

Articles at the linked site can be accessed by clicking on the title of the article.


Crop fields are generally not uniform and the harvested yield can vary across the field.  Perennial ryegrass seed production fields are also not very uniform but some farmers use yield monitors on their combines to estimate seed yield and the spatial variability in seed yield across their fields.

This variability can be mapped for the fields where yield monitors are used and these maps can serve as the basis for making crop management decisions.  But the reliability of these yield monitor-based estimates was not known for perennial ryegrass seed crops.

A recent paper by co-authored by extension agronomist in seed production Bill Young and others at OSU finds that there is considerable variability in seed yield in an otherwise uniform perennial ryegrass seed field and that a yield monitor can reliably capture this variability in seed yield.

Click on the link below to go to the article:

Reliability of Yield Mapping System for Estimating Perennial Ryegrass Seed Yield

Thomas G. Chastain

This spring has seen alternating very dry and warm periods and cool, wet periods in the Willamette Valley.  While the effect of these varying conditions on seed yield remains to be determined, grass seed harvest will soon be under way.  To maximize harvest efficiency, identifying the best timing for harvest is essential.  Seed moisture content has been found to be the most reliable indicator of seed maturity and harvest timing in grass seed crops.

Range of maturity in perennial ryegrass spikes taken from one field (Tom Silberstein photo)
Range of maturity in perennial ryegrass spikes taken from one field (Tom Silberstein photo)
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A special local needs label has been recently approved for use of Palisade EC plant growth regulator for red clover and crimson clover seed crops in Oregon.  This is timely because the window for application of the product on these crops is near.

For more information, here is a copy of the SLN label:

Palisade EC for Red Clover and Crimson Clover Grown for Seed

As always, follow the label when applying this or any other product. Mention of this product does not constitute an endorsement by Oregon State University.

Willamette Valley agriculturalists need rotation crops, especially on soils that have few alternatives.  The well-publicized conflict over canola is one manifestation of this unmet need for crops that diversify cropping enterprises.  Sinapis alba, known by the common names yellow or white mustard, is a potential oilseed feedstock crop that will not cross with Brassica spp. vegetable crops.  Other cultivated mustards are members of the genus Brassica and will cross with Brassica spp. vegetables or canola.  Because of this distinction, S.alba is not regulated by current ODA administrative rules nor by proposed Oregon legislation.

Here’s my handout from the Hyslop Farm Field Day with more information about this oilseed crop:

Sinapis alba 2013 Field Day


Thomas G. Chastain

Why is lodging important in grass seed crops?

Under certain conditions, the tiller cannot support the weight of the developing inflorescence and seed. The tiller lodges or falls to the ground, especially when there are high levels of nitrogen fertilizer and soil moisture present (Fig. 1). Both conditions are common in Oregon’s commercial grass seed production fields in the spring.  But will that be the case in spring 2013?

The winter months of January through March 2013 have been the 2nd driest winter period on record at Corvallis with only 6.28 inches recorded.  Can we expect more of the same dry weather during spring?  No one can say for sure, but an examination of weather records for the past 124 years reveals that when precipitation is very low (50% or less of the 16.02 inch normal) in January through March, the following April through June period averages 5.78 inches or near normal rainfall (normal is 5.83 inches). 

Despite the very dry weather that has been recorded to date, there may still be enough rainfall present in coming months to make lodging a problem for local seed growers.

Figure 1. Lodging in ryegrass. (T.G Chastain photo)

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