Oregon's drought could cause worldwide grass seed shortage

Grass seed woes are only part of the impact on local crops.

Posted: Sep 3, 2021 12:57 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2021 5:40 PM

SHEDD, Ore. -- With Oregon facing historic drought conditions this summer, many farmers are seeing below-average yields on several crops this year.

Much of the state has been under extreme or exceptional drought conditions this summer. The extreme high temperatures and lack of precipitation causes the soil to dry up, making difficult conditions for crops to grow.

RELATED: OREGON BATTLES HISTORIC DROUGHT CONDITIONS

One of the hardest hit crops is tall fescue, a type of grass seed, causing concern about a possible worldwide grass seed shortage.

"Across the board, fescue in general was down. Mine was probably about 45% is what I figure this morning, well, between 45% and 50% off on yields," said Denver Pugh, a farmer in Shedd.

Pugh has been a farmer for 24 years, but he said he's never seen anything like the conditions this season.

"There is not going to be near enough supply of seed to supply all the markets that are wanting seed," Pugh said.

According to the Oregon Seed Council, the state produces about 600 million pounds of grass seed every year, which counts for a significant portion of the world's product.

Pugh said this year's low yields will drive price of products that require grass seed up.

"You're going to see higher prices, especially coming to the stores for the consumer end of things," Pugh said. "You'll see higher, especially lawn prices, turf prices those are going to go up high, probably considerably."

Regardless of what future seasons look like, Pugh said those working in the agriculture industry will survive and persist.

"I'm sixth generation and I'm not the only sixth generation or multi-generational farmer out there," Pugh said. "We've been doing this for quite a while. We know how to prepare for the future and I think we'll get by, but it's going to be pretty tight."

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