Barenbrug plans £2.2m upgrade for Suffolk grass seed site

21st July 2022 | Company News, Seeds

Barenbrug UK is undertaking a £2.2 million upgrade at its seed processing plant on the Rougham Industrial Estate just outside Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The firm, one of the UK’s largest growers and processors of grass seed, is part of the multinational Royal Barenbrug Group of grass breeding and seed supply companies.

Barenbrug Rougham

The business says the investment in a new production line with automated seed packaging facilities will increase its efficiency, quality control and staff safety, while future proofing operations at the site. The UK operation produces up to 4,500 tonnes of seed annually for customers ranging from farmers and local authorities to Premier League football clubs and Ryder Cup golf courses.

Planning for the improvements started in June 2020 with Barenbrug deciding to partner with REM Project Management and Symach Barry-Wehmiller Packaging to deliver the project. The work has been organised to fit around Barenbrug’s highly seasonal processing and manufacturing schedule and is due to complete by December 2023. When finished, Barenbrug UK will have the most up-to-date facilities within the parent company’s 22 country operation.

“Our forecasts suggest demand for our UK-specific grass varieties will continue to grow,” says Nicole Watkins, commercial operations manager for Barenbrug UK. “Especially in the agricultural sector, where the post-Brexit policy reforms are likely to favour farming practices where grass plays a more important role.

“Outdated packaging facilities simply hold us back and stop the company from reaching its full potential, in terms of quality and throughput. It also enables us to invest in our team of dedicated staff. Increasing the level of automation improves their welfare by reducing the amount of manual handling necessary, as well as allowing us to focus on upskilling – equipping the team with valuable new skills and new prospects within the company,” she states.

Barenbrug UK managing director Paul Johnson adds that the project effectively future proofs the Suffolk facilities. “It is exciting to be installing such a modern, innovative new line within our Suffolk headquarters. Once completed, it will allow us to move forward with confidence as we seek to continue our leading position as a responsible, forward-thinking grass breeder, firmly committed to serving our diverse UK customer base,” he concludes.