Grass seed shortages, for top varieties, are being predicted this autumn due to the unprecedented drought seen in 2018 across the UK and Europe.
“Any shortfall from the 2018 harvest will continue until new seed is available in spring,” says Cope Seeds’ Simon Travers.
“Shortages from the severely hampered 2018 harvest will still stand, with top varieties on the NIAB Recommended List forecast to run out first,” he adds.
“A large percentage of the grass seed in the UK is from mainland Europe and there are now few UK breeders. Not only is availability a factor, but quality is also lower with germination issues reported to have affected many crops.”
Spring 2019 grass seed sales were lower than expected and an uplift in autumn orders is predicted, to compensate for slow sales. “The worry is that the top varieties will run out quickly,” adds Mr Travers.
Organic seed is reported to be at critically low levels, which means that there may not be enough seed to supply the market this autumn. “Having spoken to breeders and merchants, the word is that organic seed stocks are worryingly low.
“The conventional market is also a cause for concern, with first-class varieties selling out quickly. So if producers want the best varieties in their mixes, they really need to place their order now.”