What a lightning fast end to 2023! In our December newsletter, Edition 38, we’d like to share with you our Cherry Hill season report, plus the second in a new series ‘Anecdotes from Poppy’. We also report on some game changing equipment soon to be trialled at Cherry Hill. Read on for these stories and more…

Pictured: New state-of-the-art cutting equipment operating in New Zealand



Pictured left to right: Andrew Vandenberg, Wayne Maxwell, Andrew Langmaid, Iris Bacosa, Pam Langmaid, Justin Johnson and Conor O’Doherty.

It has been a fantastic planting season, with superb weather conditions and very little rain, which meant contractors and growers could plant seed in a timely manner. In fact, our planting season this year has been unprecedentedly early, with all seed mostly dispatched by the middle of November – comparing this to last year, where we were still sending out seed the week prior to Christmas!

This season’s challenges put pressure on the cutting line and crew, with a smaller window of time available to cut seed for early dispatch. The cutting crew were top notch in our eyes. We started two weeks later and needed to finish cutting six weeks earlier than usual. This meant, in order to keep everyone happy, our staff were working weekends and public holidays during this period.

With early planting we’re expecting our 2024 season to start earlier too, February for carrots and early March for seed potatoes.

We thank you all for your continued confidence in us and we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Best wishes from all of us at Cherry Hill Coolstores, Tasmanian Seed Potatoes, and JACS Engineering and Maintenance.


Conor and Andrew Langmaid recently visited New Zealand to inspect some new equipment which is in use by McCain Foods growers.

McCain Foods growers have implemented this new state-of-the-art cutting and sizing line – and it’s doing an incredible job for them. This has given us plenty to think about for our next two seasons also.

In the coming season, we are hoping to start running trials with a smaller version of the equipment. If all goes well and timelines permit, we’re planning on a full roll out for our 2025 season.

The new machinery will require an extension of our seed cutting shed, and purchase of new sizing, grading, and dusting gear, as well as two new bin fillers.

We firmly believe the quality of seed will be improved dramatically by using this new system.


“This year we are 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule compared to last season. We have finished planting and all the mini tubers are in. So far, things are looking pretty good.”


Andrew Vandenberg


We have been presented with a head start on maintenance this year – and this extra time is very useful, as we have scheduled to do a full rebuild on the carrot line, all bulk unloaders, and the cutting line during the break.

It’s the biggest year of preventative work and maintenance ever, and we’re on target for the 2024 season with 35% of maintenance completed already.


Justin Johnson


“Overall, it was a hard year on potatoes and carrots across the board. Now that we’re at the end of the season, I’m happy that the product was looking good for everyone. We now start to look around the yard, review our practices and what modifications and improvements we can make for the coming season. We hope that 2024 is a good season for all.”


Wayne Maxwell


Cherry Hill merch
Pictured: Truck drivers Nathan & Jarrod (Circular Head Livestock Transport) are very happy with our new merchandise.
Andrew’s birthday
Pictured: Andrew Langmaid enjoys his birthday cake celebrations, but not our singing.

1970s to 1980s


Pictured: Kevin Langmaid

Our second series is from the 1970s to 1980s, where Kevin’s work career with Vecon took him on many ventures, some successful, others not so.

“In the late 1960’s I was offered a permanent job as Foreman at Vecon. My salary was about $23,000 per annum and a company vehicle. This job was a very educational period for me. I was responsible for my own budgeting, staff employment and machinery maintenance. Being able to weld, service and assemble machinery was interesting and challenging.

By now Vecon had approval to build its new factory and office at Don Road in Forth. I had the responsibility of levelling the site and building the road in. We hired Ian Mann with his bulldozer for this job. The site was levelled for the builders to construct main offices, large packing sheds and onion drying sheds. Vegetable grading and packing machinery was installed. We were ready for production in a couple of months.

In 1970-71 my job with Vecon included the planting and harvesting of onions and beans right along the north west coast. Vecon imported the first American Chisholm Rider bean harvester (the first of its type in Australia), and also designed and built a large onion harvester. Vecon was soon up to packing 9000 tonnes of onions which were exported to Japan and later Europe each year. The beans were all sent to McCain in Smithton. The hours were long and weekends off were hardly heard of.

About this time I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of five to visit vegetable packing and growing factories in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. We observed and learnt plenty.

The following year I was asked to take two bean harvesters and drivers to Queensland in the Lockyer Valley to harvest beans there.

I then managed the grading and packing factory at Forth, by this time Vecon had sometimes up to three shifts of some 40 workers to organise, with produce being dispatched to wharf for shipping overseas. It was during the next few years that I was asked to join a syndicate of co-managers to purchase a farming property at Penguin to grow produce for export. We were called Joint Property Ownership (JPO). A farm manager was employed and farm production commenced.

There were five main areas in the structure: farm – managed by Tony Bramich; chemicals – managed by Neal Armstrong; field – managed by Buzz Green; engineering – managed by Bob Hillier; and factory – which was my portfolio. We all had our own budgets to work to, and there were many vigorous discussions because decisions made by one manager often affected some of the other managers.

After we sold our Kindred farm we moved to Devonport. It was during this time that Pat and I built a new house in Miandetta, this was the first house we had designed and had sub-contracted to build – interesting times.

During the eight years since I commenced work with Vecon and five years into the JPO, it was revealed the venture had become unprofitable, so the property was placed on the market. Before any sale was made the farm manager resigned, this created a problem and the farm manager role ended up in my lap. I managed the place for about two or three years until a sale was made.”

To be continued…read our next update from Poppy in the Easter newsletter.


Michael grew up in Latrobe and graduated from Don College in 2018. He then started working for Cherry Hill in the cutting shed and works under Wayne’s supervision.

Michael is valued as an all-rounder particularly in running the cutting line. Andrew Langmaid stated “He’s growing into a very nice young man” and is thrilled to have Michael as part of the Cherry Hill family.

Michael’s hobbies include travelling overseas with friends (he visited Bali last year), and as a war history enthusiast he is planning a 2024 trip to Vietnam and possibly Thailand.

Pictured: Michael Thornton

Pictured: Wayne is busy keeping the road clear for incoming and outgoing trucks.

TESTIMONIAL… ‘Can do’ attitude

“I mainly work with Conor and Wayne at Cherry Hill Coolstores, and I’ve always found Conor to be very obliging. He has a good disposition, a very nice manner, and is truly a people person. I value his lateral thinking to adapt and keep up with the changes and challenges of our industry – he always finds a way to move forward. Wayne has a memory like an elephant and knows this system inside and out. I enjoy his ‘can do’ attitude, and I appreciate how he goes out of his way to help with anything – even the little things.”

Rodney Smith – Ag Manager, McCain Group
Rodney has almost 40 years of experience in the industry and has been working with Cherry Hill Coolstores since day one.

View more of our testimonials here.


Our Seed Management Services. Cherry Hill Coolstores will guarantee our services on Seed Growers seed. If you buy someone else’s certified seed, which is presented to Cherry Hill in good condition, and it breaks down, we will replace our cutting and services at no charge.

This guarantee specifically refers to seed piece breakdown (i.e. rot), and refers to seed which is delivered directly to Cherry Hill Coolstores from the seed paddock for chemical application, coolstoring and cutting. In order for this guarantee to be valid, the Buyer must make claims within 24-hours of the seed leaving Cherry Hill Coolstores and before planting.

In order for this guarantee to be valid, the buyer must make claims with 24 hours of the seed leaving Cherry Hill and before planting.

View more about our guarantee here.


Read past editions of our newsletter here.


Visit our online gallery here.



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