TWK Agri and Sunshine Seedlings join forces

November 20, 2020

Sunshine Seedlings Services (SSS) has partnered with TWK Agri, one of South Africa’s leading agricultural service providers. TWK Agri acquired a significant interest in Sunshine Seedling Services, and by doing so, Sunshine Seedling Services and TWK Agri will work together to provide a greater variety of products and services.

Sunshine Seedling Services will take over the operations of the TWK Nursery based in Piet Retief, and as a result will extend its reach into the Mpumalanga, Northern KwaZulu-Natal and Eswatini areas. The Piet Retief nursery will be focused on providing quality forestry seedlings. This partnership will bring synergies to the existing operations of both parties, providing existing customers better service in the area and also providing TWK growers the opportunity to harness new technologies.

Since 1982
Sunshine Seedling Services has its roots in humble beginnings since 1982. What started as a small crop of vegetables in the valley has flourished and expanded into a nursery yielding some of the highest quality timber and vegetable seedlings in South Africa.

The team has more than 130 years of practical and academic experience. From qualified agriculturalists to a well-established management team, Sunshine Seedling Services is a leader in the containerised seedling industry.

Sunshine Seedling Services produces over 50 million vegetable seedlings annually, as well as 10 million forestry clones, seven million forestry seedlings and four million essential oil seedlings and clones.

Sunshine Seedling Services has been involved in Eucalyptus clonal forestry for more than 20 years.
The last three years have seen several changes on the clonal side. The demand for clonal wattle has increased significantly as field trials show an increase in disease and frost tolerance along with increased yield.

Wattle clones
Sunshine Seedling Services has a selection of GXN, GXU and wattle clones, extensively tested across several sites. Clones are site-specific and should be planted on highest potential areas to gain maximum benefit. The wattle clones are an exciting addition and are now available on a commercial scale.
The nursery team is excited to introduce a new, exclusive variety to the product range, the GMAC (E. grandis x E. macarthurii). TWK Agri exclusively developed this variety to achieve profitable growth, good stem form, favourable wood properties, frost tolerance and good rootability. Trial results reflect that GMAC has good pulping qualities that fall within the norm for chip exports. The timber can also be utilised as mining timber or sawn timber.

Vegetable seedlings
Sunshine Seedling Services produces a wide variety of vegetable seedlings, which are grown to order in Pietermaritzburg. These seedlings will be transported to the Piet Retief nursery where they will be supplied into the local market.

The Pietermaritzburg and Piet Retief nurseries also stock a wide variety of annual and perennial flowers. The seedlings are germinated and then planted out into six-pack punnets and four-pack punnets. The flowers are bagged according to special requirements and orders.

Other products that can be found at Sunshine Seedling Services include Blueberries, Pecans, Macadamias and Essential Oil seedlings, which include varieties such as Tea Tree, Rose Geranium, Rosemary and Eucalyptus radiata.

The Sunshine Seedling team has assured customers that all operations will continue as usual. There will be no changes to the management team and staff of Sunshine Seedling Services. The partnership with TWK Agri will bring synergies to both parties and will enable the team to provide better quality products and service in the future, together.

We look forward to growing the business together in the years to come.

*First published in SA Forestry magazine, Nov 2020

Related article: Sunshine innovation and rust and frost tolerant wattle clones

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