New seed joint venture a big win for Canadian producers

Two regionally strong Canadian agricultural seed companies from both sides of Canada are joining forces in an effort to beef up the national presence of their products and provide better support and improved products to producers across the country.

Marketing together

Under the terms of the joint venture announced in early July, Quebec-based Coop fédérée and Ontario’s Maizex Seeds say they will pool their marketing efforts across Canada for their respective seed-corn and seed-soybean products.

In a statement, Sébastien Léveillé, executive vice-president of the Coop fédérée’s agribusiness division, said the move will help the two companies create “a more diversified portfolio of products for the benefit of Canadian farmers.”

For his part, Dave Baute, president and chief executive officer of Maizex Seeds, said the net result of the new association between the two competitors will be a “strong Canadian seed choice” in the marketplace.

Both companies hope the marketing partnership will result in increased sales of their products in regions outside their respective traditional strongholds.

Tilbury, Ont.-based Maizex Seeds produces and markets seed corn and seed soybeans. The Montreal-based Coop fédérée makes and sells seed for corn, soybeans, cereals and forages under its Elite brand mostly in Quebec.

Money for R&D

According to Casper Kaastra, general manager crop production for the Coop fédérée, Canadian producers will be the big winners from the joint venture between the two equal-sized, complementary seed companies.

“It requires a lot of research and development to develop new varieties and hybrids,” Kaastra told FCC Express. 

While Maizex specializes in corn and soybean genetics, Kaastra said the Coop fédérée focuses mostly on seed corn at its 350-acre research farm in St-Hyacinthe, a half-hour’s drive east of Montreal.

He said the added revenues generated from increased market access in Canada will enable both companies to plough more money into R&D to develop new varieties that are tailor made for Canada’s shorter production cycle.

“Both of our Canadian-owned companies, which is a pretty rare thing in the seed world, work to bring products to markets that are designed for Canadian producers,” said Kaastra. “Our only focus is Canadian farmers.”

Win for Canadian producers

A senior official with the 28,000-member Grain Farmers of Ontario called the partnership “good news” for Canadian farmers.

“Both are Canadian companies that built their businesses selling seeds to Canadian farmers, so it’s nice to see them working together and bringing that added choice of Canadian-made products to the marketplace,” said Crosby Devitt.

He also welcomed the companies’ desire to use the revenues to develop new hybrids.

“It makes sense if you hope to compete with multinational programs,” said Devitt. “It’s always good to see more screening and seed production here in Canada.”

Bottom line

The joint venture between Quebec-based Coop fédérée and Ontario’s Maizex Seeds is good news for Canadian producers since it will invest additional funds into research and development of new seed varieties that are tailor made for Canada’s shorter production cycle.

Article by: Mark Cardwell