Monday, May 20, 2024

Turmoil in the alfalfa seed industry reflects the changing Dairy farm dynamic

  CONCEPTIONS   Dairy Route newsletter                   Jan-Feb 2023 

Two of the three largest corporate entities in the breeding and production of alfalfa seed are currently for sale, with no “takers” in sight.     Corteva, the corporate spinoff that holds all the prior agricultural divisions of Dow Chemical, has drastically reduced staff in the alfalfa division.    A major competitor has similarly downsized its investment in alfalfa breeding, while it has been a couple years since Monsanto (during its sale to Bayer AG) spun off its “round up ready” alfalfa project to a division of Land Of Lakes.

What does this all mean?    Simply that, since the run-up in corn and soybean commodity prices the industry saw thousands of acres of alfalfa tilled up to plant row crops.    Those big chemical companies who have been buying up seed production in recent years are focusing down on the crops that require the most chemicals under the current monocultural farming models.

This does not mean that alfalfa seed will not be available, because it is.   At Byron Seeds we are expanding the reach of the “Synergy” concept alfalfa blends, which draw seed from several of the independent seed breeding companies.     If you have not looked at “Synergy” there is this opportunity to jump-start your alfalfa production in the face of the decline of seed propogation programs which will just keep selling the older varieties already in the marketplace.

BUT at the same time, crop reports are showing that the future for hay and haylage is moving in favor of mixed alfalfa/grass (the greatest tonnage and stand life) and grass/clover (the greatest nutritional density) if not the “three way” of grass, alfalfa and clover.     If you look up “synergy” in a dictionary, it will tell you “the result when the new ‘whole’ is greater than its parts.”

Mich Livestock Service, Inc   For the Best in Bulls”    “High Digestible Forages”
P O Box 661   (110 N Main St)   Ovid,  MI  48866     phone (989) 834- 2661     fax (989) 834- 2914     email to:

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