PACIFIC Seeds has completed the installation of a state-of-the-art $2.4 million seed processing plant, custom-built to facilitate growing demand from customers and provide the highest quality product to the market.
The new plant at the company’s site at Toowoomba in southern Queensland combines multiple cutting-edge mechanisms that are expected to increase seed processing capacity by 30 per cent and significantly improve seed cleaning and treatment across a wide range of crops.
Pacific Seeds processing and warehousing manager Angus Rathie said the design for the new plant would mean improvements across seed quality, plant safety and plant efficiency.
“This project has been in the works since early 2018 and we’ve worked hand-in-hand with PETKUS Technologies, a German based firm, and GrainTech Engineering who have been the principal equipment designers and suppliers,” Mr Rathie said.
“The initial concept plans for the plant were based around having a portable, commercial-sized colour sorter available for cleaning our seed, so that we could move around from silo to silo.
“As we developed the idea with GrainTech, we realised that we could hit two birds with one stone by combining those plans with additional upgrades to the seed cleaning shed and amplify our overall cleaning and treatment activity.
“Once we had the design refined and approved, we had to be very strategic with how the new plant installation was scheduled, as we had to manoeuvre construction activity amidst our ongoing agricultural activity.”
Other principal partners with Pacific Seeds in the project included QA Electrical, Pulford Air and Gas and a number of local subcontractors who helped to ensure the success of the processing line replacement and installation.
“Across the board, this new plant means significant benefits for customers, the company and for our growers,” Mr Rathie said.
“The plant has been designed for maximum flexibility, in order to make the cleaning and treating process more efficient and to produce a high-grade product.
“Our new seed cleaner, the PETKUS M 12S multi-cleaner, was especially manufactured for flexible, high quality use and can be used on a wide array of seed varieties.
“With multiple settings and quality control levels, all future cleaning will be done with the highest precision.
“The seed then travels the cleaner over the PETKUS G40 and G20 gravity separators, with an innovative design approach to their layout to improve cleaning efficiency.
“Along with the new seed cleaning technology and gravity tables that have been integrated into the design, we’re particularly excited about the PETKUS Roeber OptoSelector 901 colour sorter.
“The advanced software processes the individual kernel images and incorporates size and shape recognition technology as a standard feature.
“This helps to remove any seeds that are particularly hard to detect, seeds that the cleaner or gravity tables might not sort out. There is also a seed treater built into the line for treating crops like wheat or chickpeas.”
The upgraded plant design includes team member-friendly features such as increased access points to machinery, replacement of all bucket elevators with pendulum elevators, updated ladder and walkway positioning, localized plant equipment and improved emergency technology.
“Seed quality was certainly a key criterion that we considered during the planning stage of this project, but we also wanted our staff to benefit from the upgraded plant,” Mr Rathie said.
“We were really trying to target the ergonomics of the previous plant and meaningfully design the new plant to create an environment that’s a lot more pleasant and rewarding for the team to work in.”
Pacific Seeds marketing manager Andrew Short said the timing of the new plant installation was ideal.
“We’re currently harvesting forage sorghum, grain sorghum and corn in Kununurra, so this will be the first seed to be processed with the new equipment.
“We’ve had a good season up in the Ord following on from a successful production cycle in southern New South Wales and the MIA.”
Mr Short said due to the smaller winter crop in Queensland and northern NSW, a larger fallow area could mean increased demand for summer crops.
“The dry winter and early spring have led to significantly higher demand for forage and there are also indications for an increased grain sorghum demand, depending on rainfall.”
Source: Pacific Seeds