Industry investment opens

Luisetti Seeds production director Vincent Luisetti with agricultural minister Damien O'Connor after officially opening the plant at Ashburton.

With a push of a button Luisetti Seeds multi-million dollar investment supporting New Zealand’s arable industry roared to life.

The high-tech German-made Petkus seed dressing plant, in operation in Ashburton since earlier this year, was officially opened this week by agricultural minister Damien O’Connor, Luisetti Seeds production director Vincent Luisetti and his father Max, now retired but who spent 42 years in the industry.

Mr O’Connor helped the company secure international border exemptions during tight covid restrictions for offshore specialists – working alongside a dedicated team of people in the district – to get the cutting-edge piece of technology up and running in time for harvest season.

Many of those involved in the installation of the plant at the Dobson Street site were present for the official opening, alongside Luisetti staff, industry members, Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown and members of the Ridge family of Methven and the Larsen family of Rangiora who were fourth generation customers of the company.

The company, which started by Vince Luisetti in Rangiora, in 1932, had grown to be an internationally significant supplier and processor of grass seeds, pulsars and cereals reaching 28 countries around the world.

The new plant was the first of its kind in New Zealand and one of the biggest globally outside of the United States.

It processes ryegrass, fescue, cocksfoot and cereals and give Luisetti clients, many of whom were in European markets, a better quality product, put more money in the growers’ pocket and offer customer satisfaction on delivery times internationally and within New Zealand.

Four and a half thousand extra tonne had been grown with the new plant in mind.

“It’s truly, truly impressive,” Mr O’Connor said, of the plant which was given a test run for people to see it in action.

Mr O’Connor was thankful to Luisetti, along with others in New Zealanders, who did their part with covid response, and to those working in the primary sector for stepping up and doing the right thing to enable the country to continue to grow the wealth of the country, which was now being enjoyed.

He was also appreciated the commitment by companies who had been owned by family’s through the generations.

The plant, which had exceeded expectations, involved a seed cleaning, treating and packing production line, was capable of processing three and a half tonne of ryegrass per hour and more than 20 tonne an hour of grain. Existing machinery processed around a tonne an hour. The cereal packer has been set at 10 tonne/hour to allow staff to safely keep up with the semi-automated packer.

The process has been two and a half years in the planning, from design to reality and involved the support of local tradesman to get the job completed in time for harvest season.