OreGro Research Objectives
OreGro Research takes a market needs approach to developing new varieties for turf and forage use. For our Oregon based breeding program, emphasis is on performance, either turf or forage, disease resistance, and seed yield. High quality, coupled with high seed yield, provides desirable performance to our customers, with desirable seed yield required by our growers. With this emphasis, we strive to balance supply and demand, without either being limiting.
Evaluation of new cultivars from other sources is another function of OreGro Research. We will look at any source of improved varieties and germplasm that may benefit our customers, and we have many license agreements for new cultivars that fill our portfolio with quality products for our markets.
OreGro Research has had cooperative arrangements with several universities for improved varieties. These include Texas A& M, University of Florida, Oregon State University, and Rutgers University. We also have a cooperative program with the Rural Development Administration of South Korea, specifically for cold tolerant, winter hardy annual forages.
As our marketing efforts expand into new regions, new countries, or for new applications such as cover crops, it is imperative to source new material that may be adapted to these emerging markets. This includes warm-season and sub-tropical applications. With new markets and new materials, we must also go to new production areas for expanding our local production, as well as producing seed in the areas of most adapted production.
Research and Resources
OreGro Research is based on two properties in the heart of the Willamette Valley near Lebanon, Oregon. Consisting of 20 acres of deep, sandy loam soils, it is utilized for the majority of the breeding and selection work. Not irrigated at this time, the well-drained soils of this farm is excellent for drought selection. The greenhouse is situated on this farm, as well as all the equipment needed for research activities.
Ten acres are available next to the office/warehouse complex of OreGro. This is tiled, silty clay soil with irrigation. This is used for multiplications, evaluation trials, and exhibition plots. With poorer drainage and heavier soils, this farm more closely mimics the majority of the Willamette Valley’s grass seed production areas.
A small trial site in Central Oregon is available for selection specifically for winter hardiness. An adequate line of equipment is available for conducting the various tasks of research. Several pieces of equipment have been custom designed and built specifically for specialized seed handling.
The Research Team
OreGro Research is headed by Matt Herb, with over 25 years experience in breeding and selection work. A graduate of Oregon State University, Matt is past President of the Turfgrass Breeders’ Association, the Oregon Seed Council, the Oregon Seed Growers’ League, and the Oregon Seed Association. His leadership and experience makes him ideally suited to understanding the needs of various markets, and the activities needed to breed, develop, and commercialize superior turf and forage cultivars.
A new addition to the Research team is Dustin Herb. With a Master’s degree from Texas A&M University and a Doctorate from Oregon State University, both in Plant Breeding and Genetics, Dustin’s main focus will be developing a forage cereals program, as well as new programs in several cool-season grasses. The research team also includes a full-time technician and several seasonal employees.