Trade: Growing success in Mid Canterbury

The rich soils of Mid Canterbury are now producing close to half of the world’s hybrid radish, carrot and beet seed, making the region’s seed and grain industry big business.

Of the $240 million of seed and grain exported by New Zealand growers annually, close to 90 per cent is produced in Mid Canterbury, and goes through Lyttelton Port on its way to the world.

New Zealand Grain and Seed Association General Manager Thomas Chin says there are many reasons why the region commands a premium on grain and seed.

“This is largely due to the local industry’s focus on quality and reliability of supply. Canterbury also has ideal growing conditions with low pest and disease incidence.”

“As an industry we also benefit from the fact that our production season coincides with the northern hemisphere’s off-season.”

Mid Canterbury’s grain and seed industry includes a highly skilled group of farmers, growers, wholesale agents, and freight movers who work collaboratively to produce first-class seed and grain exports for the world.

Modern plant genetics, state of the art processing systems, and access to irrigation also strengthen Mid Canterbury’s edge, says Mr Chin.

Pasture seeds, primarily ryegrass and clovers, that support the livestock industry are also exported to more than 60 countries across the world, with key markets being Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia.

Australia is the top market for New Zealand ryegrass seed and most of New Zealand’s beet, carrot and radish seeds are exported to the Netherlands.

Seed and grain produced in Mid Canterbury for export is transported via road to the Port, however trucking companies are now using LPC’s Midland Port, our inland port based in Rolleston. Then seed and grain is transported by rail to Lyttelton, where it is loaded on container vessels and exported.

Approximately 36,000 tonnes of seed are exported annually and Mr Chin says that number is set to grow.

“We are really excited about the future of seed and grain, and know Mid Canterbury will continue to play a significant role in the industry.”

Subscribe for the latest Port news