Seedlings and Seeds

Production of Seeds

European fodder and lawn seed production reached 222,000 tones in 2007. This production covers a very large number of species including grasses and legumes, and are intended for forage use or for lawns and leisure and sports turf.

Major species in Europe are perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass. They are followed by red fescue. For legumes, the top seed production is lucerne (7% of total production).

This production shows important fluctuations by year. They are particularly evident for the main species of Perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass.

The sharp drop in 2007 is due partly to low market demand, and secondly to the existing competition with cereal crops in accordance with the changes in regulations on seed production assistance.


There are large differences between European countries regarding seed production. The main producers are Denmark (more than 80.000 tonnes in 2007), followed by France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Denmark benefits from pedoclimatic conditions, favourable to the production of seeds of certain forage grasses (perennial ryegrass, fescues with fine leaves in particular) and white clover, in less competition with the production of cereals and a remarkable technical know-how of farmers.

On the whole, Europe constitutes the second production zone of forage seeds in the world after the north-west of the United States.

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