Sugarbeet seed production: KWS brings comprehensive investment project to a successful conclusion

Einbeck, April 7, 2022

With the opening of an additional seed pelleting facility at its Einbeck location, plant breeder KWS has brought the €51 million investment package for the expansion and modernization of sugarbeet seed production to a successful conclusion. Implemented in several phases, the project increases capacities, allows a more flexible supply of the customers with a greater diversity of varieties and, consequently, prepares sugarbeet seed production for the requirements of the future.

Some 150 employees work in the areas of Production Control, Laboratory, Seed Technology and Seed Research located on the approximately 42,000 square meter production site. A newly built logistics and storage center has already been in operation since 2019. In the year after it was opened, a pickling and packaging system was installed in a machine hall specifically built for this purpose. The construction project has now been completed with the commissioning of an additional pelleting system which treats, cleans and dries the seeds before finally forming them into a round shape. The new facility increases capacities in this production section by almost two thirds. Systems for heat recovery and the reclamation of process water for reuse minimize resource consumption.

“Alongside classical breeding work, the areas of technology and digitalization are playing an increasingly important role in the development of high-performance, resistant seeds. The completed facility enables us to increase production efficiency and offer farmers a high-quality and comprehensive product portfolio. The expansion and modernization of sugarbeet seed production in Einbeck is a strategic investment in our competitiveness and continued successful positioning in the market. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to the implementation of this project,” explains Dr Peter Hofmann, whose responsibilities on the KWS Executive Board include the Sugarbeet Business Unit.

KWS is the leading supplier of sugarbeet seed, and last year achieved over half a billion in sales in this segment for the first time. Around 300 different varieties are processed at the Einbeck location and delivered to farmers in 45 countries. Sugarbeet is an important component of a sustainable cultivation system: Among other things, it enhances crop rotation, improves soil fertility and contributes to regional supplies.

Background: Processing sugarbeet seed

After harvesting in the KWS breeding areas, the sugarbeet seed undergoes an initial quality check and preliminary cleaning before being transported to the KWS site in Einbeck for further processing. This takes place in several different stages: In the first stage, the seed is selected according to various quality parameters. Seeds that have no or only underdeveloped germ are sorted out. They are then washed to remove such substances as germination inhibitors. In the next stage, the seeds are dehydrated to a pre-defined residual moisture content. The irregularly shaped, flat seed is then pelleted with a coating so that it can be sown in precision seed drill. The pelleting process also allows the seed treatment products (dressing) to be gently applied in the next step. This protects the seed, among other things against fungal diseases and pests, and thus improves the field emergence of the plants. In the last production step, the product is packaged and, following approval by the quality control department, is delivered to farmers and sugar factories.

About KWS*

KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. Around 6,000 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.3 billion in fiscal 2020/2021. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 165 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, rapeseed and sunflowers. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than €250 million last fiscal year in research and development.

*All figures excluding the shares of the equity-accounted companies AGRELIANT GENETICS LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.

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Sina Barnkothe-Seekamp
Sina Barnkothe-Seekamp
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