Established in 1989, Vernon Seed Orchard Company (VSOC) is a joint venture company with West Fraser Mills Ltd., Canadian Forest Products Limited and Winton Global Lumber Limited. VSOC is a conifer seed production facility that has been dedicated to producing the highest quality seed for use in the reforestation of British Columbia’s interior crown forests for over 30 years.
For more than 60 years British Columbia provincial tree breeders have selected elite trees in BC’s forests with desirable traits to incorporate into the provincial tree breeding program and ultimately into orchards. Desirable traits such as faster growth, straighter stems, better wood quality and insect and disease resistance are selected in parent material and ultimately utilized in the establishment of seed orchards. The provincial tree improvement program has resulted in growth gains from 3% to 35% and the establishment of several pest and disease tolerant orchards. VSOC has appreciated a long partnership with the Ministry of Forests and has benefitted from their expertise, knowledge and genetic contributions.
To learn more about the Tree Improvement Program of BC or the Forest Genetics Council of BC and what the province is doing to ensure genetic variability, visit their website.
Joint Venture Companies
What We Do
VSOC currently manages 14 orchards comprised of over 27,000 trees. Orchards are located at two sites: Vernon and Quesnel. Species of trees grown at these sites include Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), and white spruce (Picea glauca). VSOC’s Quesnel orchard site contains three lodgepole pine orchards (10,000 trees). In 2020, a 5,000-tree second-generation pine orchard will be established at the site. In addition, VSOC manages seed production at Oie Lk, a superior provenance B+ wild stand.
In cooperation with provincial tree breeders, VSOC is continuously evaluating orchards and upgrading selected family composition to increase gain, germination, wood density, and pest resistance to ensure the best possible product is available to our clients. VSOC’s clients include the provincial ministry, forest industry companies, woodlot owners, and community forest associations.
Growing BC’s forests
Since seed production began VSOC has produced enough seed to plant over 1 billion seedlings in BC.
Commitment to Safety
VSOC is committed to the safety and well-being of employees and onsite contractors. We believe a safe workplace is each employee’s right and responsibility. Annual safety audits ensure all aspects of safety are reviewed and improved upon.
Vernon Seed Orchard Company is an AgSafe Certificate of Recognition (COR) certified company. The AgSafe COR certification is an incentive program, in partnership with WorkSafeBC, recognizing employers for an effective Health and Safety Program.
Cone Crops Projections for 2020
Surveys of all Douglas Fir orchards (Cariboo Transition, Quesnel Lake, Prince George) indicate there will be a good crop in 2020.
Lodgepole pine cones will be collected from Bulkley Valley, Prince George and Central Plateau orchards. The Central Plateau orchard in Quesnel is young and therefore will produce a smaller crop than the other zones.
White spruce crops are difficult to predict until the spring, please check back for an update in May 2020.