Autumn is the busiest season for seed retailers, Graham’s Seeds. It was a most informative time to visit the seed store and blending facility based centrally in Gippsland at Yarragon. Graham’s Seeds is a proudly independent business, sourcing pasture seed both in Australia and from across the Pacific. Established in 1966, the private company has had a series of owners. For the past twelve years it has been in the competent hands of Frank and Marianne Templeton.

The business is an independent provider of seed, agronomic advice and chemicals. Dairy farmers, graziers of beef and horses, and market gardeners are the main customers. Graham’s Seeds sells mainly pasture varieties but also green manure crop seeds for horticulturalists keen to refresh overworked soils with legumes. Custom blends of seed are mixed onsite according to client needs.

Quality is critical and is achieved through strict purchasing guidelines. All lines of seed purchased by Graham’s Seeds must come with a certification ensuring a minimum purity of 98% and a minimum germination of 85%.

In addition to the retail outlet, there is a nearby research farm. A pastoral property operating as a dairy farm was recently purchased for the purposes of research, trialling new seeds and evaluating agronomic strategies.

The small professional team at Graham’s Seeds includes two women agronomists. It was fascinating to hear their career stories and of their enthusiasm for agriculture as a direction for young women passionate about rural living. Tertiary agricultural study at the Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University was recommended as a good start.

The agronomists participate on the research and demonstration facility, and are available to clients seeking help with pasture improvement, soil tests and location specific advice.

Frank Templeton had much practical wisdom to offer Women on Farms members. He encouraged undertaking periodic soil tests, pacing paddock rotation according to how tough the seasons are, properly spraying out and fully re-planting pastures when they become degraded, and for purchases of seed to be from retailers who are members of the Australia Seed Federation.