Saskatoon is the best location to produce the new Smart Seeder Max-S, said company officials of Clean Seed Capital Group.
“It’s a great place to be. It’s central in Western Canada. I’m here, my executive team is here, supply chain is here, and then from a financial and investment perspective, it was a much better place to be rather than Winnipeg, Calgary, or Edmonton,” said Colin Rush, the company’s chief operating officer.
Based out of Vancouver, the 10-year-old publicly traded company has been pioneering multiple product variable rate electric metering, over top of the row and advanced communications and software for seeding.
For years Clean Seed has been transitioning from a research and development company to a commercialization enterprise.
Production of the Smart Seeder Max/Max-S in Saskatoon is scheduled to start this fall.
The company has an agreement to lease a 16,000 sq. foot facility that will be home to the assembly of the Smart Seeder Max-S and related electronics systems, sales and customer experience infrastructure, dealer support and related research and development activities.
“We’ll actually be doing a full integration assembly of all the technology here in Saskatoon and then putting those out to customers and to dealers that have those on order,” said Rush.
He said the seeder’s technology was developed in Saskatchewan. As well, Clean Seed was the first company approved for the patent box Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive (SCII) program, which will allow it to reduce its provincial income tax rate from 12 percent to six percent for 15 years.
Clean Seed Capital Group is also a member of the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP), which will assist with overseas marketing opportunities.
“We’ll be moving rapidly into containerization under this facility to get our machines exported, starting with Australia, but also going into some other key markets globally right out of Saskatoon,” said Rush.
The company has a target of 10 to 18 customer-ready units for its first year of production, which will depend on when the new facility is fully operational.
“We’re going to put out as many as we possibly can and preserve the quality for spring, but that’s our range right now for year one. And then it’s a rapid growth cycle for the next several years.
“We’ve already had extremely strong demand, even before we’ve put out pricing, of guys wanting to get in on the order cycle here in Western Canada and the northern States,” he said.
The commercial order program will begin the end of May with pricing available for model year 2022 Smart Seeders Max and MaxS.
Rush said final pre-production validation tests on the machines are just wrapping up and they will be soon heading to the fields.
“These are commercial-ready units that we’re just putting through their final paces. It’s exciting for us even with COVID. We’ve managed to virtually move things along quite nicely,” he said.
“We’re hopefully vaccinating in the next 30 days. We hope in May to start bringing people out to the machine in a safe manner so they can see it in the field, get their hands on it, dig in the dirt for seed placements and fertility.”