New Zealand’s arable industry could be considered the backbone of the primary sector. It’s worth $2.1 billion dollars to the economy and is a valuable source of feed for New Zealand’s $20 billion livestock industry.

At Cates we know New Zealand’s arable farmers are among the most productive in the world. Each year they produce 60 percent of the world’s radish seed, 40 percent of the world’s carrot seed, 800,000 tonnes of grain, and 85,000 tonnes of herbage and vegetable seeds, according to figures from the Foundation for Arable Research.

Despite this large-scale production, arable farmers contribute less than one percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions – making it a top performer in respect to environmental standards.

At Cates we are fortunate to work with some of the country’s best arable growers, who farm just down the road. Of the $240 million of seed and grain exported by New Zealand growers each year, more than 80 percent is produced in Canterbury – with the region often referred to as the seed bowl of the world.

Our role is to take this local seed and supply it to international markets, including Europe, the United Kingdom, America, Canada, Asia and Australia. We are regarded by farmers as an important business partner and a strategic link to the global seed trade.

Cates’ agronomists have years of knowledge and are considered experts in their field. Our team supports arable growers at all stages of production, from cultivation to harvest. This includes:

  • Onsite field inspections and crop advice: Each of our agronomists cover a geographical region which allows them to forge long-term relationships and become a trusted partner to our arable farmers. Cates’ agronomists regularly undertake field inspections to monitor all stages of the growing process.
  • Industry connections: Through years of involvement in the arable industry we have built an enviable contact list that allows us to be front runners in offering our growers competitive market prices. We can also draw on our extensive network to find an answer to any question that may arise.
  • Agrichemical and fertiliser recommendations: We have in-depth knowledge of agrichemicals and fertilisers and can recommend solutions for any situation, ensuring every farmer receives maximum returns from their crops. Our agronomists are also Certified Handlers and have dangerous goods endorsements on their drivers’ licenses, which allows the safe handling and transport of any agricultural chemicals.
  • Buying and selling on behalf: On behalf of our growers, we buy and sell a wide range of grain for the milling and feed industries. Our rail storage, weighing and loading facility in Ashburton means we are well-placed to supply domestic grain to the North Island.

We also secure large volumes of wheat for flour mills throughout the country, primarily through forward grain contracts but also on the free market.

Internationally we also export peas primarily into the Pacific/Asia region.



Huntingdon Farm

“We’ve maintained a long working relationship with Cates and this is due to their wealth of knowledge, the expertise of the team, their professionalism and also their loyalty to us as as their clients"

Ben Stoddart | Huntingdon Farm

Huntingdon Farm

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