Guest Post: Update from the Oregon Grass Farmer


There is light at the end of tunnel for Grass Seed Harvest 2013 with about a week left of combining grass and two weeks for baling. I’ve mentioned previously that I live in the Grass Seed Capital of the World, growing about 70% of the world’s cool season grasses. My family farms annual ryegrass, fescue for forage and turf, perennial ryegrass forage and turf and winter wheat.

Typically our grass seed harvest is about six weeks long with 14-hour days, 6 days a week. It is a whirlwind to say the least. We start about 7:30 am and get done about 9:30 pm each night. (FYI I use the words typically, usually and about very loosely because there is never anything for certain in farming, especially harvest until it’s over.)

Harvest usually starts at the end of June when the grass is ripe. We start by cutting the grass. Here is a short video of cutting an opening round on an annual ryegrass field. At one point it may look like we are in the middle of the field but we have to split this field into three pieces so the combines can make it around. Our fields vary in size and shape.

When the grass has had a chance to lay and dry out, which is about 10 days after cutting, we start up the combines. Here we are combining Fawn fescue, which is a forage type of grass.

Prior to last year and my return to the farm we have had custom crews do our straw baling. However, with me back farming my dad felt it was time we started baling our own straw. This is our baler in action in the same Fawn fescue field.

I oversee the baling operation. I also stack the bales.

Other typical sites during harvest:

Oregon Green Grass Seed Marie Bowers
Line at the fuel pump, each morning we fill the tanks with diesel to take to the field and fill the machines. We are kind of a Ford family.
marie bowers tractor in town
From point to point our farm spans almost 50 miles. A third of our farm is South of Eugene, OR, 20 miles from our home place. We have to take our equipment through the city to get there.
marie bowers dog in tractor
Duke the bulldog, loves to go for a ride. Also twine is the Devil’s rope.
marie bowers grass seed harvest tractor
Best time of the day, sunset.

Marie BowersMarie Bowers is a 5th generation grass seed farmer in Harrisburg, OR farming land that has been in her family for over a hundred years. Prior to returning to the family farm she graduated from Washington State University with degrees in Agriculture and Agriculture Economics and Management then spent 3 years in the Farm Credit System. She currently serves as Oregon Women for Agriculture President and Oregon Women for Agriculture Legislative Chair. She is also a board member of the AgChat Foundation, which helps to empower farmers and ranchers through social media. Connect with her on twitter: @MarieB41 or on her blog oregongreen.wordpress.com

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5 Comments

  1. I should’ve mentioned that our seed is used in pastures, cover crops, erosion control and lawns. And that after we do the harvest part we clean it in our warehouse…which is a whole other post itself. Thanks again for letting me share Ryan!

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