Sutherland Seedlings began growing seedlings in September, 1979 after Dave Biggs, while working for Roode-Lyon Seed Company; saw the potential of the “Speedling tray system” that had recently been introduced to South Africa by Roode-Lyon.
Until then most vegetable and flower seedlings were produced using conventional seedbeds or alternatively seed was sown directly into the lands.
In the case of timber, either open rooted seedlings or seedlings grown in small plastic bags were used. The patented “Speedling system” quickly proved itself with less transplant shock and more uniformity.
Sutherland Seedlings, as a pioneer in the industry, grew with the system and Dave Biggs recalls how little information was available during those early days and how different products were continuously tested with varying results. Growing medium and fertilizers were the biggest challenge in those early days.
Later, the Seedling Growers Association of South Africa (SGASA) was established and this organization played a huge role in the development of the industry and created a great opportunity to share knowledge, research new products and to enhance the image of the industry by holding many farmer’s days and producing regular newsletters.
Through this organization, industry standards have been developed with adopted best practices and Sutherland Seedlings is proud to be an accredited member of the association.
In 2008, Dave Biggs’ son, Shaun Biggs, assumed management of the nursery.
Having completed a degree in Agricultural Economics and Horticulture, Shaun spent several years under Dave Biggs’ guidance before taking over the responsibility of running Sutherland Seedlings.
Shaun is joined by a competent management team, and dedicated staff, some of whom have been working in the nursery for 20+ years.