Despite the US not competing, Oregon still represents the USA at the FIFA World Cup
LINN COUNTY, Ore.- The biggest stage for soccer right now is in Russia, and also under the spotlight at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the grass on which the players are competing.
DLF Pickseed, a company that calls Oregon home, is greening Russia’s soccer fields once again. According to Leah Brilman, the Director of Product Management, the fields in Russia use a special blend of grass seeds due to the cold climate.
“We've worked on World Cups in South Africa in Brazil and had the bids come through those," said Dr. Brilman. "Part of that is having excellent genetics and the other thing is doing a lot of work on it."
Dr.Brilman says their special blend is covering 75 percent of all the fields, including the training sites and match stadiums.
“It’s a blend of the tetraploid, perineal rye grass and the diploids and that is what these are right here,” said Dr. Brilman.
Dan Walters manages the 250 local grass seed growers here in the Willamette valley, which he says is the perfect spot to grow and harvest.
“I go back to the grower who produced that seed and say, 'Watch your tv this weekend,'” said Walters.
Walter says the amount of rain allows for natural irrigation.
“The grass thrives, during the mild winters. We don’t have that much freezing weather and we get very good ripping conditions and good harvest conditions in the summer time,” said Walters.
Russia is currently using over 100 different types of grass seed blends to work in their cold climate.
“Part of it is we have to have ones that will germinate under lower soil temperatures as you can imagine in Russia they were trying to get this up and finish the establishment when the temperatures were very low,” said Dr.Brilman.
As the 2018 World Cup continues for the rest of June and into July, DLF is already thinking about the next FIFA World Cup Games.
“I’m looking 4-8 years down the road,” said Dr. Brailman.
According to Dr. Brailman they have already put experimental materials for overseeing in Dubai, where they ship the grass seeds for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Dr. Brilman says the next bidding will be hard to get, but they have Oregons weather on their team.