In 1952, John Dalton was a seed contracts manager for Finney Seeds Ltd, being in control of the firm’s seed growing from the Humber to South Norfolk. It was in that year that he decided to strike out on his own. J.E & V.M Dalton Ltd was thus incorporated, with his wife Violet doing the accounts.
Mr Dalton’s nephew, Ron Fox, joined the firm in 1957, having also worked for Finney Seeds.
The company operated from Little Stukeley, before moving to Padholme Road, Peterborough in 1959. The company moved to the site it occupies to this day at Thorney Road, Eye, in 1963. The following year saw Mr Dalton’s son Tony join the company, having qualified as a Seed Analyst.
The 1970s saw a large expansion in the company with the incorporation of three new subsidiaries – Francis & Boothman (Dalmark) Ltd, Dalmark Grain Ltd and Gerard J Homan Ltd. The companies together became known as the Dalmark Group.
The 1980s saw Mr Fox’s son Peter join the company and delivered seed to farm exceed 10,000t for the first time.
The following two decades saw strong growth with the acquisition for three further companies – Gayton Seeds Ltd, Barnes and Maney Ltd and Solgrain Ltd. The period also saw the purchasing of the Thorney Toll site where our former local grain store was located.
The last few years have seen further investment with the building of four new seed storage warehouses, new cleaning and treating equipment and new modern offices at Eye.
Tony Dalton’s son, Matthew, joined the company in 2010.
In the six decades since its formation the company has relentlessly invested in the very latest technology to ensure the seed it sells is of the very highest quality. That attention to detail has allowed Dalton Seeds to become the largest family-owned company of its type in the country.
1952 – JE and VM Dalton Ltd (Dalton Seeds) formed by John and Vi Dalton
1957 – Ron Fox joins the company as a Director
1963 – The company moves to its current site, Thorney Road, Eye.
1964 – Tony Dalton (John’s son) joins the company
Image: John Dalton (left), Ron Fox (right)
1972 – The company annually delivers 5,000t of cereals and pulses to farm for the firm time
1975 – Francis and Boothman (Dalmark) Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary of Dalton Seeds
1976 – Dalmark Grain Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary of Dalton Seeds
1977 – Gerard J Homan Ltd incorporated as a subsidiary of Dalton Seeds
1984 – Peter Fox (Ron’s son) joins the company
1986 – Seed tonnage delivered to farm exceeds 10,000t
1991 – The company acquires Gayton Seeds Ltd
1993 – The company buys the current grain store at Thorney Toll
1997 – Seed tonnage delivered to farm exceeds 15,000t
2007 – The company acquires Barnes and Maney Ltd
2009 – Seed tonnage delivered to farm exceeds 20,000t
2009 – The company invests in a large scale seed storage capacity increase of 1000t
2010 – Matthew Dalton (Tony’s son) joins the company
2012 – Securing its future energy needs, the company installs solar panels at the Eye site
2012 – Due to increasing demand, the company adds another 1000t to seed storage capacity
2014 – Due to even greater storage requirements, the company adds another 1400t to seed storage capacity
2016 – The company invests in new offices costing in excess of £1m
2017 – This year sees the building of a new 1700t warehouse and out-loading pad
2018 – The company restructures to focus solely on seed