NZ: Drysdale Hydroponics expansion set to create 30 new jobs in Southland

A potentially revolutionary vertical growing system is the centerpiece of a $3.3 million Provincial Growth Fund-driven expansion for Drysdale Hydroponics – with 30 new jobs set to be created. Angela Beazer and partner Craig Macalister have operated Southern Hydroponics, which trades as Drysdale Hydroponics, at Myross Bush near Invercargill, for the past seven years.

The company produces fancy lettuce and a small amount of other salad greens for Southland supermarkets and the café and restaurant trade, and employs about six to eight people during peak growing season. The couple had toyed with the idea of expanding and diversifying the business, and the PGF presented the right opportunity for them to present their business case.

“We’re taking the risk to try something new and innovative, and we’re really excited about it. We think it has huge potential for hydroponics in New Zealand,” Beazer said. A $2.5m PGF loan has given them the opportunity and confidence to commit to the project, Beazer said. Two new greenhouses will be built – one will house strawberries, while the other will facilitate a wide range of vegetable crops, including capsicums and tomatoes. 

One bay is set to house a revolutionary vertical farming system with five layers of growing beds in large tables – 120 in total – that can grow a wide range of crops, allowing the company to adapt to changing demand. The concept replicated outdoor growing but in an indoor temperature-controlled environment using LED lights, and had been designed by renowned hydroponics consultant Neville Stocker, alongside Beazer and Macalister.

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