The Pacific Seeds Story
Pacific Seeds was established in 1962 by a leading US safflower research firm, Pacific Oilseeds Inc. of Woodland, California.
American safflower material was successfully introduced and adapted to Australian conditions by Australian breeders located in Biloela, Queensland and after just four years, over 4046 hectares in Central Queensland were sown to safflower.
This introduction was the beginning of a tradition. Since 1962 farmers have relied upon Pacific Seeds to lead the seed technology revolution and more than 45 years on we continue to celebrate our farmers success worldwide.
How has Pacific Seeds developed the summer hybrid and winter crop markets? During 1968, high-oil sunflower was introduced as a new crop, and new Pacific Seeds hybrid varieties of sorghum were becoming popular with farmers in NSW and Queensland.
A breakthrough in the US in 1971 made the hybridisation of sunflower commercially feasible, but it took a tour of America by a Pacific Seeds breeder to introduce to Australia the best then available, genetic material. Pacific Seeds released Australia’s first hybrid sunflowers in 1974.
Since the early 1980’s Pacific Seeds has developed a significant export business in many regions of the world. This has been successful in the generation of sales, and in the identification and subsequent development of significant regional business opportunities. Export activities now contribute significantly to annual turnover.
Pacific Seeds is the world leader in hybrid canola development. The hybrid program was established in July 1980 and released the world’s first canola hybrid in 1988. In 1996, hybrid canola research was expanded and work began on developing Open Pollinated (OP) canola varieties, with the first OP varieties being released in 1999.
By 2001 the canola range included two Clearfield® production system varieties, five conventional varieties, two triazine tolerant varieties and a hybrid.
Pacific Seeds has been instrumental in establishing successful seed businesses in many countries worldwide. Pacific Seeds (Thailand) Ltd was established following the successful development of Hycorn 9, a high yielding tropical corn hybrid bred by Pacific Seeds’ Australian research team.
In July 1989 Pacific Seeds purchased the 650ha property ‘Cave Springs’ in the Ord River District, Western Australia to enhance Pacific’s contra season production capabilities. In May 1993 the Pacific Seeds Research Centre in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland was established to further enhance it’s plant breeding programs and other field research activities.
In late 1991 Pacific Seeds made a strong entrance into the pasture seed business. Pacific Seeds Southern region team increased both the profile and grower awareness of this exciting business unit through its success in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Pacific Seeds had access to an excellent continuing stream of new genetics and products via Agricom NZ and other local and global breeding programs. In 2005, following several years of a successful joint association partnership, a commercial move by Agricom NZ resulted in the cessation of Pacific Seeds’ involvement in the pasture seed business in Australia.
1993 commenced with Pacific Seeds involvement in tropical sweet corn, the subsequent development and release of H5, its first sub-tropical and tropical hybrid varieties. This variety is now known as Hybrix 5.
In 1996 Pacific Seeds joined the Advanta group of companies (at the time one of the largest seed companies in the world). Advanta then had 42 operating units in 21 countries with major activities including breeding of major agricultural and horticultural crops, production and processing of seeds and marketing, sales and distribution of seeds.
Advanta maintained the research orientation with close connections to biotechnology that was prevalent in ICI/Zeneca. A significant proportion of Pacific Seeds staff had a valuable input into the development and success of Advanta through crop management groups, management teams, regional financial teams and strategic teams.
To celebrate Pacific Seeds’ 35 years of success in leading the seed industry in Australia, a time capsule was buried in the Toowoomba head office courtyard on December 24, 1997. This will be opened during our 50th year anniversary celebrations in 2012.
In 1997 Pacific Seeds - Africa was established in South Africa as an operating unit in its own right named Advanta Africa.
In 2000 Pacific Seeds was clearly the leading force in the grain sorghum domestic market. Pacific Seeds now also vies for equal leadership in the Australian field corn market.
The ELITE® brand name was launched in 2000 with the completion of our world class seed treatment plant on the Toowoomba site. This initiative in seed treatment is now taken up by more growers every season.
Pacific Seeds has been the leader in the Australian summer hybrid business since the mid-nineties. We have effectively more than doubled our share of the market over the last decade, and have built a very solid business based on sound product performance and professional marketing.
In 2002, the same year that Pacific Seeds’ celebrated 40 years commitment to the Australian seed industry, the company also opened its Melbourne office and warehouse to better service the growing base of customers in Southern Australia. The Melbourne office now houses Pacific Seeds’ canola crop business unit.
2003 was a year of industry recognition for Pacific Seeds. It began with the company being recognised as Southern Queensland Exporter of the Year, after winning the Agribusiness section.
Also in 2003, Pacific Seeds was presented with an award from AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) in recognition of the company’s long term support and compliance with AQIS regulations and initiatives.
During 2004, Pacific Seeds added another strength to its already impressive Research and Development operation with the introduction of a dihaploid and genetic marker lab. This lab allows researchers to identify which plant lines contain the genes for the agronomic traits they are selecting for using conventional breeding techniques.
In the same year Pacific Seeds began it’s entry into the Australian wheat seed market with the sub licensing of three new wheat varieties from the Queensland DPI&F (under the EGA partnership). The varieties underwent broad scale trials before moving into production, and was made available to the marketplace in 2005.
January 2006 saw United Phosphorous Ltd (UPL) group purchase the Advanta company seed businesses based in Australia, India, Thailand and Argentina. This group is still unified under the Advanta Seeds banner. This new ownership structure allows Pacific Seeds to access ever more superior genetic material from almost every germplasam provider in the world as we are not aligned with any of their competitors though our ownership.
On top of this Pacific Seeds has an increased number of markets it can target for export sales as we have no sister company already managing these sales.
Opportunities for extra seed production to be undertaken for these increased sales and to cover sales procured by the rest of Advanta will also help to grow the overall size of Pacific Seeds’ business.