Seed Varieties Continue to Evolve to Support Conservation Agriculture

Listen to KC Sheperd talk with Eric Woofter about new innovations in the seed industry.

At the American Seed Trade Association’s booth at the National Association of Farm Broadcaster’s convention in Kansas City, Farm Director, KC Sheperd, got the chance to visit with Eric Woofter, CEO of Star Seed, about new innovations in the seed industry going forward.

Woofter said Star Seed is known for its cover crops, native grasses, and farm seed.

“Anything that is a niche seed, Star Seed handles,” Woofter said. “The big thing we look for right now is making sure we are doing a great job supplying quality seed that is noxious weed free.”

Conservation agriculture has improved significantly over the years, Woofter said, so it is exciting to see the way farming is changing.

“Most of our producers, farmers, and ranchers right now- they are great stewards of the land, and they are changing,” Woofter said.  “That is what makes this a good thing to be in.”

Regarding cover cropping, Woofter said he is excited about the many possibilities available during this time.

“We are really cognizant about what has been going on with water quality,” Woofter said. “As we start to see our lakes and stuff maybe deteriorate a little bit, we want to be part of that. We want to be part of that patch to fix some things. Not that we have done a bad job, we can just do better.”

Woofter said the American Seed Trade Association is promoting a lot of plant breeding.

“Cover crops are changing,” Woofter said. “We are trying to go to areas where the seed is more specific. Things in southern Oklahoma to northern Oklahoma are a big difference. The moisture level, all those things, even east to west. So, trying to make sure that we have the correct seed for the correct area is a big part of this.”

Going forward, Woofter said Oklahoma may see some drought-tolerant fescue grass seed varieties from overseas.

“Oklahoma has been on that verge of a lot of different types of grasses for that,” Woofter said. “We have seen that, and we think it is a neat thing where these fescues can actually go dormant in the heat, and then they wait for rain, and here comes the green.”

Instead of having wheat as a rotational crop, Woofter said fescue grass provides an option for a more permanent grass that can handle various conditions.

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