South Pacific Seeds opened the first stage of its new processing facility in Naracoorte this week, celebrating with about 100 growers, contractors, staff and others who have contributed to the project.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone cut the ribbon with South Pacific Seeds chairman Sandy Dawson at the plant, which will double the company’s processing capacity in SA.
The vegetable seed marketer has been growing seed in the area for well over 30 years with about 1000 hectares a year in production in the South East of SA, about 60pc of which is carrot seed.
In 2016 SPS became CSIRO’s preferred grain production partner to produce Kebari, the world’d first gluten free barley, and has several contracted growers in the region.
SPS SA production manager Georgie Fitzgerald said it had been a five-year journey since deciding to upgrade their Mount Gambier plant to remain competitive in the world vegetable seed market.
She said they had looked for suitable sites across the SE but decided upon the five hectare site on the outskirts of Naracoorte in 2016.
“We believe Naracoorte is the key centre for small seed production and it made sense to expand our business in this area,” she said.
In late 2017 seven containers arrived from Europe with the German-built PETKUS machines.
These have been assembled by the Australian agents Graintech Engineering at Ballarat, Vic.
The first carrot seed was processed at the site in May.
Within the next five years the company expects to spend about $8 million with further stages including seed treatment and seed storage.