DLF Amba – history
An important chapter in the history of Danish seed growing is the entry of the cooperative movement into the seed sector. This occurred at the beginning of 1906, when a group of farmers’ associations decided to establish a seed growing and trading company under the name Danske Landboforeningers Frøforsyning AmbA – DLF AmbA. The idea of establishing the cooperative came from the farmer Povl Nielsen of Karlshøj. Mr Nielsen was also DLF AmbA’s first chairman of the board.
On its founding, DLF AmbA stood mostly for the growing of seeds, however the company also had modest retail sales.The export of grass seeds from Denmark was very modest in the years up to the First World War, but notwithstanding the war, production of field seeds increased steadily, leading in the 1920s to overproduction. To gain a better control of the production of field seeds, the seed companies began to focus increasingly on contract growing, and since then, contract growing has been central to production planning.
The formation of DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S
In October 1988, DLF AmbA took over the majority of shares in Trifolium Silo and SN-Frø A/S, and on 1 July 1989, the listed company DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S became a reality. In 1996/7, DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S’s shares were delisted. From its commencement, the newly formed company was structured as follows: DLF AmbA continues as a cooperative with approx. 2,500 members growing seed for the company under contract. On 1 July 1989, the parent company DLF AmbA together with its subsidiary DLF Invest owned 80% of the shares in the newly formed DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S. DLF AmbA now has a 95% holding in DLF-TRIFOLIUM. In 1988, DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S also took over control of Dansk Planteforædling (Danish Plant Breeding), and at the end of 1989, the DLF-TRIFOLIUM group bought the remaining 19% shareholding in Dansk Planteforædling. The breeding station is now the only breeder within clover and grass in Denmark. In 1990, L. Dæhnfeldt’s field seed division - now reconstituted as Prodana Seeds – bought into DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S.
The objective of the new company was to gather as many forces as possible into a Danish seed firm so that DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S would achieve the size required to be competitive on the world market. With the formation of DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S, a major part of Denmark’s seed production went from being based on the refining of foreign companies’ varieties to DLF-TRIFOLIUM’s growing, which was now based on its own Danish varieties, which are also competitive on the world market. This became possible through the combined forces within DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S, and the company now has significant exports to both the EU and such other countries as Russia, China and the USA – the result of a targeted initiative on the development and marketing of varieties which are competitive in these markets.
Partnership with Limagrain
An important partner for a number of years is Limagrain S.A. - a partnership which was established with the joint venture company Herfølge Frø in the 1989/90 financial year. This partnership was strengthened in 1993/94 through an expanded breeding partnership, and in the same period, DLF bought out Limagrain from Herfølge Frø. The partnership then continued via a long-term distribution agreement, and in 2000/01, the joint venture company Top Green was established together with Vilmorin Clause et Cie, which is controlled by the Limagrain group.
Since then, own breeding, production and distribution of Danish-produced clover and grass seeds has been DLF-TRIFOLIUM's hallmark - a specialisation which has made it possible for DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S to distinguish itself as a strong partner on the world market. The consolidation in the global market was further strengthened in 2003, when the DLF-TRIFOLIUM Group took over Cebeco Seeds Group (Now Innoseed Group) in Holland on 1 January – an acquisition which has provided access to yet another distribution channel at both EU and world levels. With the purchase of Innoseeds Group, DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S also took over Wiboltt Frø A/S in Denmark, a subsidiary of Innoseeds Group which has now been integrated into DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S.
DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S today is the worlds biggest seed company within breeding, production, sale and marketing of cool season clover and grass species with subsidiaries in Denmark, UK, Germany, Holland, France, USA, New Zealand and representative offices in Russia and China.