My name is Ian Kalms and I have been involved in the seed coating & enhancement industry since 1986, when I joined Hodder & Tolley (later to become Heritage Seeds) in Toowoomba, Australia. At that time, I became one of the foundation members of the team at the new, pilot, seed coating facility. It was my responsibility to manage all of the operational requirements at the facility, as well as research and develop new innovations to help the technology become safer, better and to grow.
Since the early pioneering years, I have contributed to the evolution of the industry through the development of equipment, formulations and further research of the technology. The machinery has evolved from the early, manually operated pan coaters and other equipment, through to the modern computer controlled, automated coaters and more streamlined equipment.
The formulations have advanced at an even faster pace, as the knowledge grew more products were introduced to the market. Today there are a multitude of various nutrients, plant growth promoters, beneficial biological additions, chemicals, dormancy controls, bright sparkly finishing powders, etc., etc., the list goes on and is sometimes only limited by one’s imagination. Finding the right combination or application technique can make the difference between success or failure though, in the plant, in the bag and in the field.
Over the years I have treated, coated, pelleted & enhanced many types of seeds and granules, including most temperate & tropical pasture seeds, turf seeds, vegetable seeds, tree seeds, chemical pellets, fertiliser granules and other granules that required coatings. Most of these coated products were used in general farming conditions and some were used to aid the rehabilitation of mined or eroded areas.
As the company grew, I became a member of the senior management committee, responsible for the Company’s seed coating & enhancements business. During those years on the committee, I was able to gain further business operational skills from a team of very experienced, successful and ingenious seedsmen, businessmen and mentors.
My broad knowledge and analytical research has solved many problems and led to the introduction of many new innovations in seed coating & pelleting machinery, technology and seed enhancement formulations, which have created high quality, value added products and opportunities for the business owners and their customers. Some of those innovations include;
- development of coatings to enhance seedling and plant growth,
- development of coatings to aid handling of light, fluffy or small seeds,
- development of coatings to aid the survival of beneficial biological additions,
- development of coatings to aid establishment in rehabilitated areas,
- automated handling of light fluffy grass seeds such as Buffel (Cenchrus spp) or Bluegrass (Bothriachloa spp),
- invention of equipment and processes to achieve safe, streamlined and quality production of coatings,
- introduction of the sacrificial wear features in the Rotostat coaters which provide longer operational life for the coaters,
- automation and reduced manual handling for the delivery of many of the powders and raw material additions that go into the coating process.
As well as the Australian operations, I have played a leading role in 7 multi-purpose coating plants around the world, including with designing the plant layout, equipment design, equipment & raw material scoping and selection, contract negotiation, construction, commissioning, further research and ongoing training.
I am passionate about this innovative technology and I believe that with my knowledge and widespread international experience and contacts, I can provide you and your company with the expertise to enhance your products.