Machinery through the ages


As the chilly months set in we’ve reflected on the state of the Agriculture Industry and the supervision of cut seed… and things are warming up! You can read about this in our first article below.

And good news. We’re into the new shed! Brenden and I are dedicated in finding the best way of managing the new drying/cutting shed and have already identified that having the ability to warm seed has been valuable to our procedures. I am sure more improvements will emerge going forward too.

Along with our updated facilities, we think our management combined with Pam as our Office Manager, looks very good and will serve you well into the future. Our staff are very experienced and know the business and products they handle really well. We introduce you to three of them in this edition.

For these stories and more read on.

Have a wonderful winter season everyone, Andrew and the team at Cherry Hill Coolstores


Season Report
A Slice of Life with us at CHC
Brenden’s Brief
Story time with Kevin

Read on for these great articles and much more…


The Agriculture Industry has moved forward in all areas of harvesting, handling, storing, cutting and supervising seed potatoes. We have come 
a long way from storing in a drafty old shed, cutting in a barn partly filled with hay and drying cut seed by sealing the cut surface with cement. The sets would dry okay but sealed some nasty spores inside the cut seed piece which could manifest at a later time – probably in storage, or worse still after planting creating some misses.

Some people ask “why not cut all seed in the spring?” The short answer is seed that is cut when it is dormant in April, May & June will heal well and almost always improve size, and yield and give a more even emergence making weed control easier. We find the healed sets emerge as soon as the rose end sets. There are several other advantages as well.

There are five main ingredients to ensure a successful suberisation of freshly cut seed:

• Remove surface moisture as soon as possible
• Good air flow
• Good air quality
• Humidity
• Temperature

Freshly cut seed generates a lot of CO2. This needs to be exhausted and replaced with fresh oxygen to help the tubers get over the cutting shock and commence suberisation.

If you would like more information on cut seed, call me or the team on (03) 6426 1590 or email me at


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.


We chatted to a few of our ‘girls’ from the cutting shed. A quick insight into their day and their lives outside of work here at the Cherry Hill Coolstores:


Beth Blenkhorn

Beth joined our Cherry Hill family nine years ago and with her she brought a wealth of experience and an infectious personality!

You can find Beth managing the quality control of the cutting alongside Scott. Beth supervises the girls on the cutter and monitors the trimming, checking the weight of all our potatoes. (FYI – the optimal size of your seed potatoes is 41-70grams!)

Outside of work Beth likes to practice and perform her cultural dancing and is a member of the Mariposa Group in Latrobe. Beth is from the Philippines and loves sharing her cultural heritage with the group and members of the public who they often perform for.

Debbie Weeks

A local lady, Debbie is one of our most experienced in the cutting room having been with us for 11 years. When asked what roles are performed most days, modest Debbie simply said,

“I progress through the stages of the cutter, starting on the general table to last look and then back to the smaller table where the undersized potatoes are sorted.” In truth the rest of the team let us know Debbie’s main role was “making the girls laugh constantly”!

When not at work Debbie enjoys spending time with friends, dining and relaxing. An avid tennis player in the day Debbie now prefers to sip a latte and enjoy a good meal with friends.

Sue Thorton

We got the feeling Sue may be Debbie’s partner in crime, although she wasn’t letting on! Sue is also one of our most experienced workers on the cutter and has been with us for 10 years.

Early starts often see Sue arrive at Cherry Hill by 6.45am to setup the cutter and equipment for the day. “Every evening the equipment is washed and packed away, this role is shared with the group on a roster system, as are the early starts to prepare for the day. Generally our most experienced staff looks after this until everyone is familiar with the process”.

In her spare time Sue likes to read and knit and is part of the Devonport Machine Knitters Club. Once a month the club members meet and discuss projects and share tips. “It’s a fabulous volunteer project that sees the members knitting blankets, beanies, and jumpers (to name a few) for underprivileged groups.” What a gem our Sue is.

This month sees our cutting team move into our new shed! The girls’ smiles couldn’t be bigger with winter setting in, as our new shed has heaters! Check out the gallery for recent images of the new cutter and the girls at work in the old shed.

Read more about our staff here …


“Cherry Hill Coolstores have been handling our seed for about 15 years. Over this time we have seen their business grow, to be one of the most modern and up to date potato seed handling facilities in the state.

They are friendly, conscientious and helpful, always making sure our seed is well looked after.”

Beau Gooch – Owner/Manager, Wisedale Pastoral

View more of our testimonials here.



Hi Growers,

This year’s intake of seed has been really good with weather and seed quality on the growers’ side. However, with the good growing season, it caught some growers out with seed bulking quickly and becoming oversized seed.

Defects of seed have mainly been powdery scab with a little nematode seen as well.

Just a reminder to growers that if they haven’t organised their seed and returned the paperwork to do so as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss your seed, call me or the team on (03) 6426 1590 or email me at


In the late 1960s and early 1970s I remember Bruce Cutts and Peter Gillam searching the overseas machinery manufacturers for a suitable onion harvester to harvest here in Tasmania for Vecon P/L. They employed me at that time. They could not find anything suitable as most crops were harvested by hand after field drying. The decision was then made to build their own harvester.

Bruce Cutts was the designer and John White was responsible for the hydraulic drive system. Stewart O’Brien was the main fitter/welder to build the machine. After some initial start up problems, the machine turned out to be very successful for many years going forward. Dennis McCormack was the new fitter and he made several improvements. Dennis was a very loyal agricultural fitter for Vecon for many years.

The machine consisted of a pickup chain conveyor with a rubber draper on top. This fed in under a large extraction fan for rubbish removal. The product then moved into a large basket wheel (Ferris wheel) to elevate up to an inspection belt. This then deposited the crop in to a smaller hopper, which was emptied into a truck driving along side – very modern for the times.

I remember the start up day for that machine very well, as I was the designated operator. I can only say it was a stressful time, experienced by all. The machine, after all the chains were fully loaded, seemed to fade away and stall.

After many frantic adjustments and changes made by the designers, we were left scratching our heads as how to solve the problem. Adding to our dilemma was the fact we got a visit from our Managing Director telling us he needed 900 tons into the factory over next two days as shipping deadlines had to be met. The pressure was on!

After more hydraulic motors were replaced with a higher capacity, to no avail, and darkness was upon us. It seemed we needed a larger main hydraulic pump, which we could not get for at least a few days.

Very tactfully, I suggested to Bruce we could convert the pickup drive to mechanical and relieve the load on the hydraulic system. He finally agreed after I offered him a P.T.O. Drive and gearbox we had at home on an old Port Adelaide potato digger. Stewart O’Brien and yours truly were assigned to install the temporary drive to the machine over the night and be ready for next day’s harvest.

That was a very successful night’s work, as we loaded some 120 tons of onions the next day and declared the machine a success. That drive system remained on the harvester for the rest of that season, and at least one other until Denis McCormack and Bob Hillier installed a new and more powerful hydraulic system to it. That machine went on for many years, loading thousands of tons of onions. Many other onion-packing companies used the same or very similar machines as the export market expanded.

Kevin is now retired, however can regularly be found out at the Cherry Hill Coolstores. He lives in East Devonport and would describe himself as very happily retired with still a key interest in Cherry Hill. Andrew regularly refers to Kevin for his advice and opinions.


Please note that some months ago we changed banks to the ANZ (a few customers have still been using our old details so please update your records as we now have new banking details).

Please note these are now:
BSB 017 536 Account no. 3972 26402


Read past editions of our newsletter here.


The new dry/cutting shed is open! We’re really excited to start work in these new facilities having already identified some benefits that are proving valuable to our procedures.

Fore more images from Cherry Hill (particularly more of the she’s developments) visit our online gallery here…



P: (03) 6426 1590
F: (03) 6426 2464
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