With over 25 years combined experience of ‘walking the paddocks’, Greg Hubbard and Ryan Ford know the seed industry inside and out. Almost 10 years ago, in October 2012, they decided to put their expert agronomy skills to good use by starting G & R Seeds Limited.
G & R Seeds started off supplying seeds and agrichemicals to Canterbury, coupled with Greg and Ryan’s expert agronomy advice. Recognising a gap in the market, G & R Seeds expanded into seed production and multiplication. Now they work with farmers and clients throughout the South Island, providing everything from retail seed to seed for kale and winter feed for dairy farmers.
G & R Seeds are known for producing top quality seeds. “Everyone wants clean, high quality seed that can be shipped overseas if needed. That’s where we come in,” Ryan explained. “We’ve got great farmers, good systems in place, and we produce good quality seed. We work closely with farmers, managing the crop from planting right through to harvest.”
Greg and Ryan have a tried and tested approach to each crop and farm, using their agronomy expertise to develop a unique plan to produce a great yield. “Every farm and every paddock is different,” Greg said. “We can’t just walk from one paddock to another and use the same formula. It’s a challenge we enjoy, to come up with the right plan for the right crop in the right paddock. We come up against different weeds and diseases so we have to consider what to change as the crops grow.”
Since 2012, G & R Seeds have worked hard to develop and maintain great working relationships while staying in the loop on market trends. “Our business is forever changing,” Ryan said. “As we’ve grown and become more established we are able to offer farmers advice and a range on contracts. We’ve got great relationships with our clients, many of whom we’ve been dealing with for a number of years.”
Nick Walls, a Director at Leech & Partners, has been with G & R Seeds from the start. “Nick helped us get everything set up, met with potential suppliers and farmers, and came to our first few bank meetings,” Greg explained. Since then, Nick has provided valuable business advice and accounting support for G & R Seeds. “Over the last nine years he’d been a great mentor, always encouraging and providing support when we needed it. His vast knowledge in the rural sector has been imperative,” Ryan said. Leech & Partners has helped G & R Seeds with everything from regular accounting needs to employing new staff. Nick has recently been invited to run quarterly board meetings, taking on a more formal advisory role.
Looking to the future, G & R seeds aims to form new relationships with growers, continue to solidify relationships with their current growers, and to increase their market share. “Gone are the days where the New Zealand farmer would put all their eggs in one basket and work with just one company that would supply their chemicals and trade their commodities,” Ryan said. “Growers are now open to working with multiple companies for different things. They want good advice, high yields, and the right person to deliver them. This opens up opportunities for us, which sees us working with clients as far north as Blenheim and as far south as Gore.”