Marco Werman: Now what's a game of soccer without that sea of green to play on. It's got to be sturdy though. Soccer pitches take a beating, especially at the World Cup in Brazil. All those slides and dramatic dives can tear up the turf. Though it always seems to look pretty good on T.V. But the grass at the Cup isn't native to Brazil. It comes from thousands of miles north in Manitoba, Canada. Terry Scott is with Pickseed, the company that supplied the seed for the Cup, and he's been following the games from Winnipeg.
Terry Scott: Yeah, it's been an exciting World Cup.
Werman: You know the answer to this one Terry Scott, what's the secret to this green and lush looking soccer field? All these fields on display at the World Cup, where does that grass come from?
Scott: Traditionally in Brazil they have Bermuda grass soccer pitches, but the Bermuda grass goes dormant at this time of the year and turns brown. So it doesn't look very good from the T.V. So perennial ryegrass is the grass of choice. It germinates quickly, it grows quickly, it's an aggressive grass. And it's a grass that we can successfully grow with our seed production farmers up here in Manitoba, Canada.
Werman: Is it true that more than a billion ryegrass seeds harvested there in Manitoba went to Brazil for these World Cup fields?
Scott: Well, that would just do one soccer pitch.
Werman: Just one.
Scott: So it would be certainly a lot more than that. Perennial ryegrass generally is about 300,000 seeds per pound, and you have to put on quite a few pounds on a soccer pitch, so it ends up about a billion seeds on one soccer pitch.
Werman: I mean the grass is extraordinarily green. It's a really beautiful color. But here's the thing, Manitoba is Canada. We're talking Brazil, the tropics. How does this Manitoba ryegrass seed actually fare in a place like Brazil?
Scott: Well, it's kind of interesting because the perennial ryegrass, the characteristics of some of the varieties of course have the ability to handle the heat and humidity, but also can handle cooler temperatures, which in certain parts of Brazil is the case as you get into higher altitudes there. So it does manage a lot of different conditions.
Werman: What other sports events has Manitoba ryegrass seed gone to? Anything famous?
Scott: It goes in a mix - football stadiums, golf courses, things like that. We did provide the seed, which was mostly perennial ryegrass, for the 2010 South Africa World Cup. We also did the Euro Cup in 2012, which was in the Ukraine and Poland. It's interesting because up here in Canada we use perennial ryegrass in our turf mixes, but perennial ryegrass doesn't survive our cold winters up here in Manitoba when it's minus 30 degrees. It just doesn't survive well over our winters. So it does better as you get a little bit south of here in terms of a permanent grass year round.
Werman: So Terry, you're the vice-president of this grass seed company there in Winnipeg. Your front lawn better be looking good.
Scott: I don't know if I should take all the credit, but we've had a fair amount of rain this year, this Spring, and my front lawn looks fabulous.
Werman: Terry Scott, a vice-president at Pickseed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Thank you.
Scott: Thank you very much.