SESVanderHave’s factories in Tienen (Belgium), Kiev (the Ukraine) and Alexeyevska (Russia) subject the sugar beet seeds to many complex and high-tech treatments to ensure farmers world wide receive only the highest quality seed possible.
The processing of sugar beet seeds consists of several steps. When the pre-cleaned raw seeds from the production areas arrive at the factory, the actual cleaning process begins. Little sticks, stones, dried earth and foreign seeds are removed.
Subsequently, seeds that are too small, hollow seeds and seeds with inadequate germination are screened and removed. The remaining seeds are then polished and sorted. This is a highly selective process.
The next step is pelleting. The polished seed is pelleted with a specialist powder based on clay and wood flour, which gives the seed an even round shape. A uniform shape is very important for ease of planting through a grower’s equipment in the field. This pelleting process is carried out in rotating drums in which the seeds are continuously sprayed with water and powder until they have a perfectly round shape. Then, the seed is dried down to harden the pelleted seed. Thanks to SESVanderHave’s sophisticated machines, this process is highly accurate, further improving the quality of the seeds.
Pelleting is followed by the chemical coating and colouring. This thin coating layer consists of a mixture of fungicides and pesticides. By applying them directly onto the pill, the overall quantity of pesticides can be strongly reduced and targeted, which makes the process more environmentally friendly. The mixture also contains colouring and a protective polymer to protect the seed until planted.
The seeds are finally packed in units of one hundred thousand seeds, providing further protection for seed during transport, storage and handling. The seeds are then transported to more than fifty countries all over the world.Only 20 to 25 percent of the harvested seeds are finally sold as commercial seed, showing the stringent quality control that goes to ensure only the best seed is used.
Guaranteed quality and tracking
Processing is completed from August through February each year. During this time, the SESVanderHave factories operate 24/7 - ensuring growers receive their seed in good time for sowing. Because every seed must deliver a plant, the seeds are subjected to many further quality controls. “After every step in the process - cleaning, pelleting, coating and packaging - samples are sent to the quality control laboratory. Seeds that do not meet our stringent quality requirements are eliminated from the production process”, says Jan Van Roie, Quality Manager at SESVanderHave. Thanks to this traceability SESVanderHave can guarantee the quality and performance of the sugar beet seed.
Thorough quality control for optimum results
Throughout process, the seed is tested frequently in the quality control laboratory. After meeting size and planting specifications, the quality control laboratory mainly checks its speed of germination and its vigour. “Our quality assessment is the most important parameter for growers”, continues Jan Van Roie. “We check seed germination under variable weather conditions. We can predict how our seeds will react to both favourable and extreme climatic conditions. This way, we can guarantee each grower the best possible germination. Next to testing the germination strength, we also test moisture content, chemical loading and sowability. For the latter, the quality control laboratory in Tienen has disposal of sowing elements of all sowing machines, used around the world to ensure conformity. Every season, we conduct more than 120,000 quality tests.”
Thanks to this high-tech, state-of-the-art seed processing, with 100% traceability and a thorough quality control, SESVanderHave guarantees the highest seed quality available on the market.