DLF-Trifoliumis spending 3 million on a new 4,000m2 (43,000ft2) grass seed mixingfacility and distribution centre just outside Edinburgh.
Itwill be the biggest investment in grass mixtures production ever seen in theUK, with the capacity to handle up to half of all the agricultural grass seedsown in the country.
Mostof the seed passing through the plant will have been grown on farms in the UKand mainland Europe, with the rest coming from as far as Canada and NewZealand.
Thesite, which has excellent road links north and south, is to be fitted out with48 raw material bins to hold individual varieties. Bespoke automated equipmentwill select, mix, pack, treat, label and palletise the seed according tocustomers specific requirements. The planned start date for production isOctober 2014.
Theplant will have the flexibility and capacity to produce more than 3,000different grass seeds mixtures, and will be capable of running 24/7 duringperiods of peak demand in spring and autumn.
Individualorders will be weighed, mixed, bagged, labelled and palletised in just tenminutes, with guaranteed three day, and optional next day delivery, anywhere inmainland Britain.
Webelieve grass will play an increasing role within UK farming, as livestockproducers strive to produce more meat and milk from home-grown forage, saysTim Kerridge, Agricultural Sales Director for DLF Trifolium.
Morefarmers are realising that re-seeding pastures with new, higher yielding andbetter quality varieties, boosts grassland productivity and animal output,whilst reducing their reliance on expensive bought-in feeds. We see demand forgrass seed rising in line with this more progressive approach to grasslandmanagement.
MrKerridge continues: This new mixing plant will allow us to cater to the veryspecific demands of all our customers but especially in terms of in-seasonlead times and the just-in-time culture that exists within our businesssector.
Whenfarmers order grass seed in season they need it immediately, and we have torespond accordingly. The new plant will have the speed and capacity to ensurewe can deliver the best lead times in our sector, even at the height of theseason when traditionally most suppliers are forced to extend them by up to aweek, due to lack of capacity.
Wehave designed it to suit our needs now and in the future, and will be able tomanage production output in line with seasonal demand, Mr Kerridge explains.This means we will be able to cope very efficiently with unexpected weatherevents, such as the condensed sowing season of spring 2013, which shortened thedelivery window by around three weeks.
Morethan half of the grass seed sown in the UK has been bred by DLF-Trifolium andthe company has more varieties on the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists in theUK than any other breeding company.
Thesevarieties are marketed under the HF Seeds, Oliver Seeds and ForageMax brands.They are also included in the mixtures of many third party merchant customerswho sell them under their own brand identity.
Allthe forage mixtures will be produced in the new plant from next autumn, whenthe company relocates from its existing site in Leith, which has been operatingas a grass seed mixing facility for more than 50 years.