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Ballance takes over Seales and Farmworks

Last updated 13:00 01/03/2013

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Fertiliser co-operative Ballance has stepped up its investment to full ownership of animal feed company Seales Winslow and farm technology business Farmworks Systems.

The co-operative had held a majority shareholding of 51 per cent in both businesses since 2011.

Chief executive Larry Bilodeau said the co-operative was better placed to support growth in both business units with full ownership and could meet increasing demand from customers for farm nutrients and technology.

He said  farmers were looking to nutritional supplements and farm technology to get better returns from their businesses and reduce their environmental footprint.

The investments are expected to help drive the co-operative's own growth for shareholders.

Bilodeau said Seales Winslow was performing well and achieving a rising profile as a national source of animal nutrition.

"It has excellent potential and moving to full ownership will see that potential realised at pace".

Ballance plans to continue sourcing ingredients domestically.

Farmworks' Ag-Hub farm information management system became part of Ballance's range of services in in early 2011.

The full investment in the company is expected to match growing demand for technology tools to help farmers manage nutrients and their farm production more profitably and sustainably.

This is expected to increase the pressure goes on farmers to closely manage nutrients on their farms and contain fertiliser and feed costs.

Seales Winslow will continue to operate as an independent company under the direction of Graeme Smith, who will return to the Ballance executive team as general manager of animal nutrition.

The animal feed company expanded its Ashburton and Waikato operations with a multi-million dollar redevelopment of a feedmill in Whanganui due to be completed in June.

Seales Winslow has Canterbury roots with Winslow Feeds and Nutrition from Ashburton combined with Seales in Morrinsville. Farmworks Systems is based in Feilding.

Ballance agri-information manager Graeme Martin will oversee the Farmworks Systems business and development of the co-operative's other farm technologies.

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