Dirk Röse

A for­ward-loo­king com­pa­ny stays young

Schwe­ger­moor GmbH cele­bra­tes its 50th anniversary

It was with a big Fami­ly Fes­ti­val that Schwe­ger­moor GmbH cele­bra­ted its 50th anni­ver­s­a­ry. Well over 100 employees and fami­ly mem­bers enjoy­ed a day on the com­pa­ny pre­mi­ses, which recei­ved a Wes­tern-style décor. Bar­be­cue food – coo­ked on a mobi­le smo­ker – was on offer, as was bull riding and many other Wild West acti­vi­ties. “Schwe­ger­moor GmbH holds a very spe­cial place in the Klasmann-Deilmann Group,” said Nor­bert Siebels, out­go­ing Mana­ging Direc­tor of Klasmann-Deilmann GmbH, during his cere­mo­ni­al address. “For deca­des now, this loca­ti­on has spe­cia­li­sed in the pro­duc­tion of pot­ting soils – and our cus­to­mers great­ly appre­cia­te this.”

Schwe­ger­moor GmbH’s roots stretch back to 1910, when the ‘Han­no­ver­sche Kolo­ni­sa­ti­ons- und Moor­ver­wer­tungs-Akti­en­ge­sell­schaft’ (Haku­mag) built a power plant in Bohm­te, see­king to obtain nitro­ge­nous fer­ti­li­ser from the low-tem­pe­ra­tu­re car­bo­ni­sa­ti­on of peat. In 1968, peat plant Torf­werk Schwe­ger­moor GmbH & Co. KG was for­med which has, as Schwe­ger­moor GmbH, been a whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group sin­ce 1998. It has been hel­med by Gün­ter Ober­mey­er sin­ce March 2006.

The com­pa­ny, with a cur­rent head­count of 36, pro­du­ces some 300,000 m³ of pot­ting soils and bark pro­ducts per annum. The most important raw mate­ri­al is peat from its own extrac­tion sites. Every year, around 20,000 m³ of sod-cut peat and 130,000 m³ of mil­led peat are har­ve­s­ted here.

At the same time, the com­po­si­ti­on of the­se pot­ting soils is chan­ging. Recent­ly, the pro­por­ti­on of alter­na­ti­ve con­sti­tu­ents used, such as wood fib­re and green com­post, has incre­a­sed to around 40% – a deve­lo­p­ment we wel­co­me and sup­port,” Nor­bert Siebels said. Schwe­ger­moor has ope­ra­ted a com­pos­ting faci­li­ty for green was­te sin­ce as long ago as 1990, pro­du­cing an average of 40,000 m³ of qua­li­ty-assu­red green com­post used as an addi­ti­ve in pot­ting soils.

It will also be get­ting its own wood fib­re faci­li­ty this year. “This invest­ment will take us fur­ther into the future,” asser­ted Mana­ging Direc­tor Gün­ter Ober­mey­er. Our pro­duc­tion tar­get for the com­ing year is around 10,000 m³ of wood fib­re, rising in the future to a peak out­put of up to 45,000 m³ per annum. “With our own pre­mi­um-qua­li­ty raw mate­ri­als, we can respond to the incre­a­sing demand for orga­nic gro­wing media and peat-redu­ced pot­ting soils,” Ober­mey­er added.

Roun­ding off his address, Nor­bert Siebels con­clu­ded: “At 50, Schwe­ge­moor tru­ly is a firm that has stay­ed young at heart – becau­se it remains at the fore­front of pro­gress and main­tains good pro­spects for the future. And a for­ward-loo­king com­pa­ny stays young.”

The sto­ry of Schwe­ger­moor GmbH

In 1910, the ‘Han­no­ver­sche Kolo­ni­sa­ti­ons- und Moor­ver­wer­tungs-Akti­en­ge­sell­schaft’ (‘Han­no­ver Peat­land Sett­le­ment and Uti­li­sa­ti­on Stock Cor­po­ra­ti­on, Haku­mag) built a power plant on Dam­mer Stra­ße in Bohm­te, the aim being to obtain nitro­ge­nous fer­ti­li­ser from the low-tem­pe­ra­tu­re car­bo­ni­sa­ti­on of peat. Metha­ne, a by-pro­duct of this pro­cess, was to be used to gene­ra­te electri­ci­ty. Howe­ver, long dry­ing times meant not enough peat was avail­ab­le to ensu­re con­ti­nuous ope­ra­ti­ons. The power plant was clo­sed only two years later. In sub­se­quent years, pro­duc­tion focu­sed on black peat for domestic fuel, and on white peat packed in jute sacks and bales in slat­ted woo­den crates.

On 20 March 1968, Franz Mei­nen and Fritz Wer­net had Torf­werk Schwe­ger­moor GmbH & Co. KG ent­e­red in the regis­ter of com­pa­nies. It was on this day that the pre­sent-day Schwe­ger­moor GmbH was born. Whe­re­as this new firm did use its own land for extrac­ting sod-cut peat, it pri­ma­ri­ly reli­ed on Hakumag’s lea­sed sites and ope­ra­ting faci­li­ties. Bales of peat and val­ve sacks were mar­ke­ted under the umbrel­la of the for­mer ‘Peat Lit­ter Asso­cia­ti­on’ and the ‘Bre­men Peat Export Business’.

In 1986, the for­mer Klasmann Wer­ke GmbH acqui­red a one-third sta­ke in Schwe­ge­moor GmbH. The loca­ti­on got its own sub­stra­te fac­to­ry. It was hence­forth Klasmann that took char­ge of the mar­ke­ting of the bales of peat and pot­ting soils under the ‘Lui­se’ brand. Sales acti­vi­ties through peat export ope­ra­ti­ons in Bre­men were sca­led back.

1995 saw Schwe­ger­moor purcha­se ope­ra­tio­nal­ly necessa­ry mate­ri­al assets, buil­dings and land from Haku­mag. The old fac­to­ry buil­ding, dating from Germany’s eco­no­mic boom peri­od asso­cia­ted with indus­tria­li­sa­ti­on, bur­ned down in June of that year and pro­duc­tion of bales was discontinued.

In June 1996, the com­post manu­fac­tu­rer ‘Kom­pos­tie­rungs­ge­sell­schaft Regi­on Osna­brück (KRO)’ began ope­ra­ti­ons direct­ly on the plant site. The first ‘orga­nic com­post’ was pro­du­ced and dis­tri­bu­t­ed in 1998 and, in sub­se­quent years, KRO pro­ces­sed up to 100,000 ton­nes of orga­nic was­te every year. The bulk of the orga­nic com­post was sold for agri­cul­tu­ral pur­po­ses. Schwe­ger­moor held a 10% inte­rest in KRO and also assu­med its ope­ra­tor­s­hip. In June 2014, the faci­li­ty was total­ly des­troy­ed in a bla­ze. A new plant is cur­r­ent­ly under con­struc­tion, alt­hough this will no lon­ger be ope­ra­ted by Schwe­ger­moor GmbH.

In 1998, the com­pa­ny was inte­gra­ted into the Klasmann-Deilmann Group as a whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry. That year also mar­ked the start of coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween Schwe­ger­moor and Com­po. This busi­ness rela­ti­ons­hip con­ti­nues to this day, with Schwe­ger­moor pro­du­cing high-qua­li­ty pot­ting soils for Com­po, aug­men­ted by pot­ting soils under Klasmann-Deilmann’s Florabella brand.

In 2001, the com­pa­ny was ren­a­med Schwe­ger­moor GmbH.