Introduction and Survey of Pacific Northwest Seed Crops. Thomas G Chastain CROP 460/560 Seed Production

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1 Introduction and Survey of Pacific Northwest Seed Crops Thomas G Chastain CROP 460/560 Seed Production

2 Seed Production: A Specialized Form of Crop Production Seed Production is the activity, science, and technology that increases the availability of high quality seed at the lowest environmental and economic cost.

3 Seed Production: A Genetic Delivery System Seeds are the primary genetic delivery system for conveying favorable traits from the breeder to the consumer. Why seeds? Seeds are: 1. Small and hardy 2. Convenient to store and transport 3. A repository for heritable traits Tall fescue seed (TG Chastain photo)

4 Development of a Specialized Seed Industry Prior to the development of the seed industry, farmers set aside a portion of their crop for the purpose of planting. By the late 1700s, the first companies were started to supply the growing demand for vegetable and flower seed. As transportation systems improved, more farmers and companies became involved in the specialized field of seed production and the first major seed production industry was born in the late 1800s. The world s largest seed industry began in the 1930s to produce hybrid seed corn and is centered in the Midwest. Historical wheat harvest (top) and early onion seed field (bottom) OSU archives photos

5 History and Development of Oregon s Seed Industry Grass and legume seed crops were originally produced as a by-product of forage production. By the 1930s, farmers began planting grasses and legumes solely for seed production. The Oregon seed industry developed because of the favorable climate and the evolution of specialized management practices. This evolution resulted from cooperative efforts of seed growers, industry suppliers, Oregon State University and the USDA. Willamette Valley tall fescue seed field 1949 (top - W Gifford photo, OSU Archives), clover harvest 1930s (bottom)

6 Development of a Specialized Seed Industry Seed industries associated with self-pollinated crops such as wheat tend to be small regardless of the number of acres grown. Forage and turf grass seed production in the USA has shifted from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. Since these cross-pollinated seed crops are being produced outside of their area of principal adaptation or use, special procedures must be followed to prevent genetic shift. Willamette Valley grass seed crop farm (TG Chastain photo)

7 Oregon is a special place for seed production Reasons for a Pacific Northwest Seed Industry Climate - Dry summers and mild and wet winters Great variety of soils over short distances High seed quality High dependable yields Annual ryegrass seed field in autumn (TG Chastain photo)

8 Oregon's Rank in US Seed Production US Ryegrass Seed Acreage Map source - USDA Seed Crop Oregon s Rank in US Perennial Ryegrass 1 Annual Ryegrass 1 Tall Fescue 1 Orchardgrass (Cocksfoot) 1 Sugarbeet 1 Red clover 1 Crimson clover 1 Kentucky bluegrass 3 Alfalfa (Lucerne) 8

9 Oregon Seed Production Acreage Grass Forage Legume Sugarbeet Vegetable and Flower Crimson clover and perennial ryegrass (TG Chastain photos)

10 Oregon Seed Crops Grass seed crops 11 major species ranging from ryegrasses to bentgrasses. Forage legume seed crops - 7 species are produced including red clover, white clover, and crimson clover. Sugar beet seed crops Oregon is the sole producer of the US sugar beet seed stocks. Vegetable seed crops - includes Brassica spp., onions, carrots, sweet corn, radish, cucurbits, and others. Cereals, oil seed, and grain legumes small acreages of seed production. Flower and native plant seed crops small but growing in importance. Oregon Sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) seed field (TG Chastain photo)

11 Oregon Grass Seed Crop Acreage and Value* Crop Acreage Farm Gate Value ($ millions) Annual Ryegrass 120, Perennial Ryegrass 112, Tall Fescue 136, Kentucky Bluegrass 13, Rough Bluegrass Orchardgrass 12, Chewings Fescue 8, Red Fescue 9, Hard Fescue 1,626 2 Colonial Bentgrass 2,650 4 Creeping Bentgrass 2,910 5 Total 420, *2014 Crop Year

12 Oregon Legume Seed Crop Acreage and Value* Crop Acreage Farm Gate Value ($ millions) Alfalfa 5, Red Clover 13, Crimson Clover 12, Common Vetch Hairy Vetch 1, White Clover 10, Arrowleaf Clover Total 43, Red clover seed crop (TG Chastain photo) *2014 Crop Year

13 Oregon Other Seed Crop Acreage and Value* Crop Acreage Farm Gate Value ($ millions) Vegetable/Flower 12, Field Corn 4, Radish Sugarbeet 2,219 5 Total 19, Seed corn (TG Chastain photo) *2013 Crop Year

14 Willamette Valley An agricultural system with a climate unmatched anywhere in the world for seed production: Grasses Forage legumes Sugar beet Vegetables Flowers Oregon grass seed farm (TG Chastain photo)

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