I get a number of calls and here are a few things people are unaware..
Forage Radish. There are only a small number of growers of radish in the market. No matter the name the varieties are pretty much the same. Whether the name on the bag is Diakon, forage radish, nitro radish, or tillage radish, studies by the University of Michigan and The University of Minnesota show there is no difference. In today’s industry where fancy names and bags predominates, your basically buying the same product across the board.
Winter pea’s vs Forage peas. So many people plant austrian winter peas for their deer plots. The price on these runs typically .70-80 per lbs., whereas the Canadian forage peas run .40-50 per lb. There is no quality difference and the only advantage of the winter peas is about 4 degrees lower in temperate that it's able to tolerate. In many parts of the northern US, this might not last more than 1 extra day. I will sell people whatever they want but i know I’ll never invest the extra expense in the winter peas.
Buck forage oats vs Bob oats or other forage oats. So many people think there needs to be a deer on a bag or a fancy bag before they will buy the product. Buck forage oats is Bob oats but with a fancy name and deer on the bag. I did a trial last year with Buck forage oats, bob oats, everleaf oats, forage plus oats, falcon oats and triticale in 2 test plot locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The results might surprise people but the worst product in the trials was everyone's favorite forage oats. This was expected based on the germ count and product quality. I am more than happy to share pictures of these test plots to show this trial. In the end my winner of the test plots was the triticale. It stays green later than oats, has a better quality and tolerates heavier ground better than oats.
Forage Beans, I have sold eagle beans the past few years and they are a great product. But many don't understand the differences in beans. Eagle beans and real world beans are "indeterminate soybeans." What that means is they keep growing, and blossoming until there is a killing frost in the central and northern climates whereas regular soybeans mature and begin to dry down when the day lengths begin to shorten. There are many other "indeterminate soybeans" out there by various companies but they aren't as popular. Look around and see. If your someone who isn't planning on spraying your soybeans with roundup, then consider non roundup-indeterminate soybeans. They tend to be 1/2 the cost.
Clovers, There are very few growers of clovers in the industry. The same grower might produce a variety of clover that is sold to the trade or distribution chain. Any particular lot of clover might end up with 10 different names that are sold to end users. The big thing I tell people to look for is germination count, weed seed levels and inert matter. The biggest difference is in the seed conditioning verses the variety.
Once again, keep checking back here as I’ll try to post tidbits every few days to help educate you as to the industry.