Tall fescue seed-production research and practice have evolved from an emphasis on forage cultivars (see Chapter 19) to a strong focus on turf types in recent years, especially with the development of "dwarf" tall fescues (see Chapter 26) that were more persistent than ryegrass (Lolium spp.) in warm, humid environments. The discovery of the grass-Neotyphodium coenophialum (Morgan-Jones and Gams) Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin endophyte association and its role in tall fescue toxicosis and improved plant persistence (see Chapter 1) resulted in a movement to nonendophytic forage cultivars. Now, with the introduction of novel (animal safe) nontoxic endophytes such as MaxQ (trademark of Grasslanz Technology Ltd., Palmerston North, New Zealand, commercialized in the US by Pennington Seed Co., Madison, GA in ‘Jesup' tall fescue), the role of forage tall fescues is set to expand (see Chapter 20).
In Oregon, tall fescue seed production area has increased greatly in recent years, from 4000 ha in 1979 to more than 57,000 ha in 2004. This increase is due in no small part to increased demand for improved turf-type proprietary cultivars. In addition, tall fescue remains a popular pasture grass throughout the temperate transition zone between areas where cool-season species are best adapted and those where warm-season species are adapted (see Chapter 3).
Here we review data on tall fescue seed production, including Oregon data from the annual reports "Seed Production Research at Oregon State University, USDA-ARS Cooperating" and in New Zealand from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), and also on some topics observed by the authors in their contacts with tall fescue seed producers over the last 15 yr.