Cates was one of the first independent seed companies in Mid Canterbury and in April proudly reached their 50 year milestone.

Established in Ashburton in 1973 by Peter and Jocelyn Cates, the company has grown steadily to become a household name in the Canterbury region. Over the past 50 years the Cates team has developed strong and longstanding relationships with many local farming families.

Some key highlights over the 50 years include the purchase of the large warehouse and seed cleaning facility in Rakaia in 1992 and the formation of Plant Research NZ Ltd, to which Cates is the principal shareholder, in 2000.

General manager Stuart Begg said 50 years in business was a great achievement – and something the staff, past and present, were very proud of.

“Our business has been built on the strength of our people. They bring skills, knowledge and a genuine commitment to our clients and industry.”

However, the 50-year milestone was only possible with the ongoing support of the local farmers and clients, for which Cates was extremely grateful, he said.

“It is not uncommon for us to be working alongside farmers whose parents and grandparents have also grown with Cates.  This is a real honour, and we feel very privileged to work with these families.”

“We are very proud of our history but also continue to focus and plan for the future in both our domestic and international markets, to ensure we are here for at least another 50 years.”

In more recent times the company launched a new brand with Cates, New Zealand Seed Specialists.  The Cates brand strategy reinforces its position as a key player in the world seed market.

While Cates plans to expand to meet the growing global demand for locally grown seeds, Begg said the company remains fiercely proud of its Canterbury origins and the relationships it has built over generations.

“We are a local company – if a farmer wants to talk to us, we’re there. We constantly strive to add value for our customers, that’s the heart of what Cates is all about,” Begg said.


Pictured : Cates staff at the head office on Kermode St and the building on West St which housed the Peter Cates Ltd Grain Store in the 70s and 80s

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