Betaseed Inc. recently completed a four-year upgrade, redesign and renovation of its sugarbeet seed processing plant in Tangent, Ore.
“It is important for us to be positioned well for the future to be able to deliver high-quality products,” said Mark Schmidt, vice president of sales and marketing at Betaseed Inc., during the facility’s open house. “Our research group has delivered tremendous genetic potential, but for us to be able to deliver that promise to the grower, we need to have consistent emergence. We also need to be able to ensure that when we take an order, we are able to deliver on that seed. The Tangent facility investment allows us to deliver on our promises.”
Prior to the redesign, seed had to travel over 2 miles within the plant. Now, seed travels less than one-tenth of a mile, reducing opportunities for contamination. Some of the most critical processing stages that are streamlined include:
Cleaning. Bare seed from the production fields is received in Tangent and placed on the cleaning line to separate sticks, soil, weed seeds and chaff from the seed. The pericarp, also known as the cork, on the outside of the sugarbeet seed is removed to promote seed germination. A sample of the clean seed is then taken to the lab for germination testing.
Recovery. Each hybrid produces seed that is shaped and sized differently than other hybrids. The size of the seed will also vary depending upon the climatic conditions experienced during the production year. At the recovery stage, the seed is polished and sized to ensure that it is uniform and that it meets all quality and seed testing standards during further processing stages.
Pelleting. Betaseed Inc. assesses each lot of seed after recovery and uses pelleting equipment to create consistently sized seed lots. Pellets are built using measuring equipment for consistency, then sized with both round-hole and slot screens. Another germination test is conducted after pelleting.
Treatments. After seed is primed and pelleted, fungicides and insecticides are applied, along with a seed-coat color. Additional germination tests are conducted after treating. Plantability is tested at both the pelleted and treated stages to ensure the seed is compatible with planters that farmers use.
Packaging. Seed is packaged and shipped to warehouse locations in each market. A final germination sample is obtained as the seed is packaged and submitted for a series of final tests to ensure that the seed meets and exceeds Quality Assurance standards.
Laboratory space was also added during the renovation.
“We’ve produced high-quality seed for more than four decades, and we are always working to perfect this process,” says Schmidt. “The redesign in Tangent showcases our commitment to the industry and sugarbeet growers. What this means for the future of sugarbeets is that we’re here to stay.”