TANGENT, Ore. (AP) - DLF Pickseed will have its grass seed on familiar ground during soccer’s World Cup games.
Only this time, it will cover a lot more area - as in all of it.
Steve Reid, research director for the company, said DLF’s PhD perennial ryegrass mixture has been overseeded on every field that will be used during the World Cup tournament, being held in Brazil.
DLF, an international company that has its U.S. headquarters and numerous research facilities in Linn and Benton counties, seeded specific fields during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but this time around it is the only distributor.
“There are 12 venues for the World Cup in Brazil,” Reid said. “Most of Brazil’s fields are Bermuda grass-based, overseeded with various DLF perennial ryegrasses.”
DLF shipped 300,000 pounds of seed in April and it was dispersed among the soccer fields as soon as it arrived. The games began last week. The tournament will feature 64 matches in all, featuring 32 teams from all over the world.
DLF began working with FIFA, the international organization that manages the World Cup, on managing and developing pitches there almost as soon as the 2010 events ended. Reid said DLF varieties matched the environment in Brazil.
The fields will likely rest three days between matches, getting water and fertilization as needed. Conditions in the stadium have been modified to meet the ideal.
“Some will have artificial lights in shaded areas of the stadium to keep it as close to perfect as it can get,” Reid said.
A training seminar was conducted in March to detail final field preparations and maintenance before the World Cup.
The fields will be mowed daily - they are cut under an inch, according to Reid - and will be top-dressed with sand for divots. Each stadium has a pitch that will range in size from an acre to an acre and a half.
Grasses were tested first with trial mixtures at DLF’s Philomath research site. Reid said 18 different mixtures were tested before deciding which to use.
“We looked at every possible environment, so we have a pretty good idea of what the components can handle,” Reid said.
Additional tests were conducted at DLF’s Kentucky facilities, which provided climate closer to that of Brazil. International testing also took place.
“Grasses need to be tough for this climate: Heat resistant, disease tolerant and wear tolerant,” Reid said.