Canadian company supplies grass for World Cup
Canada's biggest soccer star is tough, bounces back quickly, and was designed for one purpose: the playing fields of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Unfortunately, the above paragraph isn't describing a Canadian athlete, but rather a species of grass that was engineered especially for soccer's ultimate competition, being held in Cape Town, S.A.
All World Cup pitches, including practice fields, are covered in turf grown on Manitoba farms by Pickseed Canada.
Terry Scott, the director of western sales for the company, told CTV's Canada AM his company has spent years coming up with the perfect product for the world's premier soccer tourney.
"This was a four year project for our company, developing the special perennial rye grasses that can handle the kind of activity these particular soccer pitches put it under," Scott said from Winnipeg.
"These were bred to handle the higher stress of the activity, the cleats, the tearing up of the grass, they have very quick growth habits, quick recovery habits."
In Canada, ideal grass seed mixes contain more blue grasses and fescues, which are better equipped to handle the cold winters. But South Africa's climate is better suited for perennial rye grasses, which grow at a denser rate and create a soccer pitch that is similar to a carpet, Scott said.
It also recovers quickly, which is an essential trait for pitches where dozens of elite-level games will be played in a short period of time.
The two varieties provided by Pickseed are a Zoom perennial ryegrass and SR4600 perennial ryegrass. They have a germination period of between three and eight days, and are mixed with a blend of Kentucky bluegrass which helps the grass spread quickly.
They ryegrass was produced by growers in Beausejour, Ste. Anne, Starbuck and a fourth in the Red River Valley.
"We are very proud, we're a Canadian company and we certainly like to wave the Canadian and the Manitoba flag," Scott said.
The only disappointment, he said, is that Canada will not field a team at the tournament which begins on Friday. Some have noted, Scott said, that having a Canadian team play on Canadian grass would be akin to burying a loonie at centre ice, which was done secretly at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics -- where the Canadian men and women both won gold.