Growers warn of 20% price hike for grass seed and turf

Wet weather brings "disastrous" summer seed harvest

By Rachel Sixsmith Prices of grass seed and turf are set to rise due to this summer’s poor growing conditions, seed and turf growers have warned. Turf grower Rolawn and grass seed producers DLF Trifolium and Advanta are warning the amenity sector that prices of turf and grass seed could go up by 20 per cent by autumn, before doubling next year. They blame the wet weather, which has reduced the seed yield of summer harvests across Europe by 25 per cent. Advanta Seeds representative Ian Misselbrook said: “The bad weather in Europe has resulted in a disastrous seed harvest, with some growers having total crop failures and other crops being of poor quality.” Rolawn managing director Paul Dawson added that sharp increases in oil costs and increased drainage costs because of the rainfall have also bumped up the cost of turf production. He said: “The costs have increased significantly.” Other factors, such as a global wheat shortage and the increasing need for biofuel crops, are also adding to the increase. DLF amenity sales manager Derek Smith explained that growers are swapping their grass crops for wheat. He said: “No longer is there any subsidy on grass seed production so growers are looking at the most profitable crops to grow. Wheat, because of the shortage, is most profitable. So already we are experiencing difficulty in contracting for 2008 grass seed production because of these competitive crops.” BALI technical director Neil Huck said: “People in the amenity sector are going to find it difficult to get stock. But the price rise has not come as a shock. We’ve seen what the weather has been like and have been expecting it. The weather has been against good turf growing.”

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