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Agriculture Business

End-to-end service proving its worth

Liki Udam May 5
North Canterbury agronomist, Derek Thelning, right, in a crop of barley with a customer

““We still sell the products but we believe the true value is added through the people and the advice that we offer to the customer.””

Patrick Davis - CEO

Wholesale Seeds’ success at the 2019 Christchurch/Upper South Island Deloitte Fast 50 awards – where it won the Fastest Growing Agribusiness – reflects its commitment to providing a total end-to-end offering to its many customers.

Founded in 2009 by James Smith as a wholesale trading business, Wholesale Seeds has transformed into a retail operation selling directly to farmers.

That model has further evolved with the company also now offering a diverse range of agronomic advisory services.

These include technical and financial expertise, the implementation of agronomic inputs, environmental planning and environmental transparency reconciliation all done through using Cloud-based software.

CEO Patrick Davis joined the team in 2015 and has been in his current role for 18 months.

In Patrick’s time the team has grown from six to a 27 with a strong work ethic and customer-focused culture – a catalyst for the business’ growth over the last four years.

“Growth has been around the end-to-end service offered by our team,” says Patrick.

“It’s a fairly unique delivery model based around highly skilled, tertiary qualified people, rather than just offering branded products without support.

“We still sell the products but we believe the true value is added through the people and the advice that we offer to the customer.

“I think that model has proven itself if you look at how quickly we have grown.”

The energy and passion of Wholesale Seeds’ team is matched by their knowledge and understanding of the latest ideas and agricultural innovations.

“They need to have aptitude in nutrient budgets, planning, finances and agri-chemical specific application rates.

“And they have to have strong interpersonal relationships with contractors so they can get the right inputs implemented on time to get the best results for the farmer.

“They walk paddocks, identify weeds and pests, increase soil fertility, solve problems and make recommendations.”

Wholesale Seeds has developed a new partnership model called Sure Yield whereby a yield target is set at the start of the season and it’s up to Wholesale Seeds to control inputs (chemicals, fertilisers, pasture re-sewing, grazing times) to meet this yield.

“We contract manage the crops and if we don’t hit the yield target we get penalized financially – if we get over the target we are incentivised.

“So we’re sharing the risk with the farmer financially.”

Patrick says the success at the Deloitte Fast 50 awards has raised the company’s profile within the wider market place.

“It is satisfying for James, the other shareholders and myself—but it’s also really satisfying for our team and it has strengthened our culture.

“We work very hard, have a strong culture and we do have a unique form of service delivery which both benefits and appeals to our customers.”

Wholesale Seeds has transformed into a retail operation selling directly to farmers, and also offers a diverse range of agronomic advisory services.

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