30 June 1995

Seed plant opened

BRITAINS longest established seed company has opened the first new seed processing plant to be built in the UK for seven years.

Ridleys Seeds was founded in Shropshire in 1616. Its £750,000 greenfield development at Astley Park, Shrewsbury, follows its purchase by crop protection and animal health specialists David Nunn last year. The plant was opened by Don McNeil, chairman of the British Society of Plant Breeders. Later managing director Chris Hoff said new contract seed growers were needed to make full use of the plants 10,000t/year capacity.

In a very competitive market the firms objective is to generate business by doing a better job than anyone else. To that end it is casting its net far and wide for new growers. "We already have around 70 farmers under contract, growing about 1800ha of seed crops," Mr Hoff said.

"We need more growers, but are only interested in professionals who can meet our specifications. Some of Ridleys former suppliers could not, and they are no longer under contract."

Two state-of-the-art processing lines will handle cereals, herbage, oilseed rape, pulse and root crop seed. Seed will be sold to wholesale and retail outlets throughout the UK. &#42