2011 was one for the record books! It’s unfortunate those records are not the ones folks like to brag about. The extremely hot, dry, windy days significantly reduced or eliminated native and introduced grass seed yield across most of the major seed producing areas. As a result, prices are up and availability is down for many varieties.
Introduced grasses: There is an industry-wide shortage on many of the introduced grasses, such as kleingrass, WW B Dahl, and wilman lovegrass. But, some growers with irrigated production do have fair supplies.
Native grasses: Indiangrass is by far in the shortest supply; to the point most companies will likely be selling this item in blends only. Little bluestem is in slightly better shape than indiangrass for the time being. As we continue into the planting season I anticipate the availability of little bluestem to become an issue. The availability of switchgrass, sideoats, bristlegrass, big bluestem, sand bluestem, sand lovegrass, green sprangletop is fair (relatively speaking).
Forbs: As we speak, forb supply is as good as any of the grasses. For instance, there are fair supplies of croton, native sunflower, maximillian sunflower, oxeye sunflower, bush sunflower, black-eyed susan, mexican hat, pigweed, kochia, bundleflower, purple prairie clover, purple coneflower, lance leaf coreopsis and englemann daisy.
Annuals for food plots: The millets, such as browntop, japanese and dove prose, are in very short supply. The supply of cowpeas will dwindle quickly, as these are a commonly planted spring food plot item and the production made in wetter parts of the country will be used up rapidly as the planting season gets underway. Milo and other sorghums are also short in supply and will disappear quickly once farmers begin planting. One annual that does have fair availability is sorghum almum.
I highly recommend and advise customers to make their seed purchases early, while seed is available. If you have projects to seed pipelines or right-of-ways, reclaim newly cleaned regrowth pastures, or are planning spring food plots for deer or birds, get in touch with a seed supplier right away and get your spring planting seed booked.