Our Story

In 2017 the Department of Conservation (DOC) purchased a direct seeding machine and started trials to explore more cost-effective solutions for large-scale restoration of native plants. DOC chose a proven technology from Australia to trial the direct drilling of NZ native seeds. Designed in South Australia in the late 1980s, the Burford Tree Seeder was developed to address rapidly growing land degradation issues such as erosion, salinity, deforestation, and vegetation fragmentation. Burford Tree Seeders are used extensively across Australia in some of their most challenging environments.

In New Zealand, direct seeding trials using the Burford Seeder were undertaken by a small team within DOC across multiple sites, properties and landscapes in Canterbury, Otago and Southland.  Each of the 20+ sites were selected to test vastly different and diverse environments, ranging from pasture competition, bone dry conditions, waterlogging, and pest invasions. 

The direct seeding trials were designed to test the machine with a range of NZ species, conditions and landscapes to formulate a recipe for success. This included how best to prepare sites, collect and process seed, and adapt and refine the direct seeding methods and maintenance to NZ conditions. 

NZ’s first Burford Tree Seeder