2016 Seed Industry Market Report

This article was originally featured in our 2016 Price List.

Seed market conditions will remain favorable for consumers throughout 2016, bolstered by competitive pricing and generally abundant supplies.

Photo credit: Alvaro Serey

Photo credit: Alvaro Serey

Low commodity prices continue to incentivize investment in pasture grasses and alfalfa as alternative crops. Combined with a slowdown in government spending on reclamation species, general market conditions will benefit seed buyers.

Soft prices for corn and wheat crops will encourage farmers to replant acreage to alfalfa this year. Good alfalfa seed supplies and favorable prices create an extra incentive for producers to pursue this crop.

A weak commodity market has also resulted in more acreage for cool season grasses in northern production zones. With the exception of species such as meadow brome and orchardgrass, cool season seed supplies have improved from 2015 and prices benefit the buyer.

Warm season grasses have come down in price as well, due in large part to reduced CRP acreage – one of the greatest sources of demand for this category. Lower CRP and Great Basin seeding demand has also freed up forb seed supplies, creating opportunity and lower prices for those interested in planting pollinator species, such as wildflowers and legumes.

A similar situation has brought down prices for shrub seed, in this case influenced by lower demand from the Bureau of Land Management. The seed is in good supply with competitive prices.

Turf seed pricing remains consistent. Sod-quality Kentucky Bluegrass seed will be in shorter supply, however, as low-yielding varieties are removed from production. Sod-quality tall fescue seed is in good supply.

While still largely a niche category, organic seed has made inroads, with supply improving. Overall, supply remains insufficient to meet demand, however. As interest in organic foods increases, production is expected to continue growing.

In general, supply of small grains is good and demand has stayed consistent. This seed has good availability and prices have come down.