Spring frost, summer drought and competition for land have reduced the supply of many forage seeds for next spring. So if you expect to plant new pasture, hay, or even ornamental forages next year, order your seeds early because many types are in short supply, recommends Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension forage specialist.
Alfalfa should have enough seed to meet demand but some varieties will be in very short supply.
"You'll also find much less so-called 'cheap' seed available, and this cheap seed will be closer in price to the premium varieties than it has been in a long time. Since savings might be small, consider buying the very best varieties available," he says.
Other legumes, like clovers and birdsfoot trefoil, as well as native legumes, are in short supply so if you're planning any pasture renovation, get your seed early. Native warm-season grass supply also is tight, but most species should be able to meet demand. Specific varieties though, are very short so if variety selection is important to you, and it should be, check out your options soon, he says.
Meanwhile, summer annual grasses like millets and forage sorghum will be tight but there should be enough seed to meet average demand. Possibly the tightest market will be for cool-season grasses, especially orchardgrass, but also bromegrass and some wheatgrasses.
"The bottom line is simply this -- if you want to be sure to get the specific variety or even the exact species of seed you want, order early. Don't expect to walk into your seedsman's office to purchase and pick up seed next spring or summer. By then, it might be all gone," Anderson says.
-- Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension forage specialist