February is the time when farmers start pricing seed and getting it lock in for the upcoming season. In the last few years there has been production issues with some crops, so the earlier you get your seed bought, the more secure you will be. Sometimes the seed companies have plenty to go around, but some years that is not the case. I planted roughly half my acres last fall in triticale, but I still need around 200 acres of various crop seed so I have been pricing the various dealers in Oregon and found out some interesting things about prices.
Last year a main producer of triticale seed in Christmas Valley, OR had frost damage which drastically reduced his yield, so triticale 102 was real short. I called up my dealer and they were selling it as fast as it was being delivered and I only could get my hands on a couple ton. I ended up making up the difference with 348, a variety I never planted before and we will see how it turns out. I paid around $700/ton which seemed rather high. The previous year I planted a variety called Fridge which the dealer sourced from Canada. It worked out pretty well for me but had pretty long awns which I wanted to get away from this year.
Now I am looking at oat and pea seed for my spring and summer double crop planting needs. Below is a table of prices that I am finding as I shop prices. I have priced three dealers so far, I won’t list the names here but if you have ever talked to me about seed I bet you could figure out who they are! The three prices listed for each variety is for each dealer so you can see if one dealer is higher on one seed type and lower on another seed type.
Cayuse oats $570 – $450 – $520
Everleaf oats $805 – $700 – None in Stock
Maple or other spring peas $960 – $700 – $860
Austrian peas $960 – $950 – $820
Judging by those numbers, it pays to shop around. One interesting thing I noticed is the spike in pea seed prices. A few years ago it was down towards $700/ton for Austrian peas (winter hardy), but it has obviously jumped much higher this year. I am talking with some dealers about growing seed for them this year, it only takes a few acres and there will be enough supply to drop those prices down quite a bit. My yield was around 3,000lbs/acre when I grew peas for Helena, so at $.30-$.33/lb for dirty seed, there is a pretty good profit margin for everyone involved and the prices should drop some. If it doesn’t, heck, I will just hang on to it and sell it myself!