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TAS Country : February 17th 2011
uary 18, 2011 15 temore. Pictures: ROSS MARSDEN SPRING CLEANING: Anne Heazlewood in the factory. weep Back then in the '80s when we put our first cleaner in, there were probably only half a dozen commercial seed growers in the state.' and spiral separators. ''Rolling ability is something we use for cleaning,'' he said. ''If you've got nice round, good-quality seed it will roll, so we use that to separate it from the rubbish and the other seed we don't want.'' Mr Heazlewood said they also used velvet-covered rollers that use the surface texture of the seed to separate them out. Good hygiene is vital in seed- cleaning to prevent any contamination. Mr Heazlewood said each machine had to be thoroughly cleaned down using high-pressure air between different seed lines. ''It's not a nice job, very dusty, but it's one of the most important things we do,'' he said. All the seed is regularly tested after cleaning to ensure all the unwanted material has been removed. Now that seed companies require more treatments to the seeds (such as an application of insecticide), the Heazlewoods have installed a seed- treating machine that can apply both liquid and powdered treatments. The first three months of the year are the Heazlewoods' busiest time, when the factory can be running as long as 14 hours a day. However, the large range of seed they clean now means the busy time had extended further into the year. ''There are a lot more early and later varieties now, so we'll be cleaning seed for customers until mid year and probably a bit after that,'' he said. Mr Heazlewood said keeping records of individual seed lines from their clients was vital. While seed-cleaning has grown to be the family's main business, they also run a mixed livestock and cropping operation on their 243ha property. Each year the Heazlewoods grow a number of seed crops, including oats, ryegrass clover and peas. They also grow poppies. The Heazlewoods also have one of the world's largest English Leicester studs, which has been in the family since 1854. They also run a Border Leicester stud and each year turn off a number of cross-bred lambs from their commercial flock. Mr Heazlewood said when the opportunity arose they would also buy in steers to finish over the winter. With demand for seed continuing to grow, Mr Heazlewood said Tasmania's seed industry could continue to increase is size. ''I think a lot of people probably don't realise how much it would actually be worth now,'' he said. ''There is a lot of potential here to grow more, especially with the clover.'' After three decades in the seed industry, Mr Heazlewood said some of their original clients were still bringing them seed to clean each year. ''I think if we stopped doing this the thing I'd miss most is the people you meet,'' he said. ''It's amazing the people you meet and it's the sort of industry that you can travel around the world and stay with other cleaners because it's such a good network.''
February 10th 2011
February 24th 2011