Registered in 2002, Westranell Horticultural Solutions Pty Ltd, was a small distribution company dealing with vegetable seed that was acquired from overseas seed breeding companies and sold into the Australian market. The first sales were in Pak Choi seed for baby leaf growers and then the range of products started to grow to include Beets, Chinese greens, lettuce and wild rocket. Honeydew and Rockmelons (cantaloupe) were also worked on as well as Seedless Watermelon. As a distribution company dealing direct with growers WHS increased sales and has become an important player in some vegetable areas but there were limitations by having to deal with overseas companies. The main issue was acquisitions by larger breeding companies of mid sizes breeding companies that WHS was dealing with.
In 2010 WHS started to collect and select material suitable for use in Mustard greens, Rocket (wild and cultivated), Lettuce and Melon breeding programs. In 2011 WHS started to actively develop inbreds for hybrid production and created crossing blocks in OP material that is now the pillar of our own Lettuce, Melon and Greens breeding programs. In 2015 we had Dr Larry Knerr join our company as a consultant breeder and in late 2016 take over the running of our breeding programs. Larry is very well known for his work as a lettuce, green and melon breeder at Shamrock Seed Company prior to its acquisition by the Limagrain Group. Our breeding programs is grower and industry focused - all participants are invited to be involved with selection and in this way we can meet expectations by active involvement
The introduction of Australian Bred and owned vegetable varieties has started in 2017 and to ensure the origin of our material is known a new trading name - Australis Seed Company was borne. Now actively breeding Melon ( Honeydew, Rockmelon and Specialty types), Lettuce, Wild Rocket, Kale and Mustard. In addition we have a couple of very focused programs in other species that we do for specific customers.
The future is looking very positive for Australis Seed Company with a range of unique products that are results of direct interaction with growers. Each day brings another challenge but a walk through our greenhouse is like a day in a lolly shop, - and yes we now have a lollypop mustard advancing through the system - how very exciting.