Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/6/2010 (3692 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WHEN Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney kicks a chunk out the turf at the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup, Terry Scott would have every right to be worried.
After all, his company, Pickseed Canada, has a vested interest in the grass on which the Argentinian and English soccer stars will be playing, as it provided two varieties of perennial ryegrass seed used in seeding 13 giant stadiums across South Africa.
"It has excellent wear tolerance and quick regrowth," said the company's director of western sales. "They can repair it pretty quickly. I'm sure they'll have some reserve seed and some sod that they'll put into those fields if something really serious happens. It's a fine-leaf grass. It's very nice to run on."
One of Pickseed's sister companies, Oregon-based Seed Research, has been working on finding the perfect blend of grass seeds with FIFA for four years. Through Agricol, Seed Research's distributor in South Africa, they've been testing them on numerous soccer pitches to ensure they can handle the traffic presented by some of the world's best -- and most famous -- athletes.
While Pickseed employees are ecstatic that their wares will be on display to the world for six weeks, it's not like it's a new endeavour for them. They've been seeding golf courses, sports fields and lawns since 1947.
"Soccer fields aren't that large," Scott said, with a laugh.
Regardless, even though Pickseed has customers all over the world, the World Cup contract is a big deal for the company.
"From a monetary standpoint, it's nice business. Next to the players, the quality of the soccer pitch is the most important thing at the World Cup. But for us, it's more about waving the Canadian and Manitoba flags. We're pretty proud of doing this type of business. It conveys the message that we have the best-quality seed and the best producers in the world," he said.
The two varieties provided by Pickseed, Zoom perennial ryegrass and SR4600 perennial ryegrass, were produced by growers in Beausejour, Ste. Anne, Starbuck and a fourth in the Red River Valley.
Scott said having helped provide the grass for one of the biggest sporting events the world has ever known would certainly be used in Pickseed's future marketing campaigns.
"It's a feather in our cap to be able to say we're doing that. It would enhance sales, if anything," he said.
During a recent "state of readiness" tour of South Africa's official World Cup venues, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said Cape Town's 68,000-seat stadium was "perfect."
"It's just an amazing stadium and all the teams who play in Cape Town, they will play in the perfect place," he said, adding Cape Town's ryegrass pitch should be treated as the benchmark for all World Cup stadiums.
"It's a nice, deep green colour," Scott said. "It's got disease resistance built into it for bugs and fungal disease. It's ideally suited for turf situations."
Pickseed is a privately held company and therefore doesn't have to release its sales figures, but Scott said its Canadian operations grew by more than 30 per cent last year. Things weren't quite as rosy in the U.S., where the recession caused a record number of mortgage foreclosures, so new lawns weren't being planted in front of empty homes. Golf courses south of the border weren't being used as much, either.
"It goes in cycles. It will turn around over the next couple of years," he said.
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.