Horticulture

Avocado on a stick has the internet going nuts, but do we really need it?

[14 May/The Country] Over the last month, social media has been set alight by what appears to be spreadable avocado. The product, Avocado on a stick, looks like a roll-on deodorant and has had a huge response with many users questioning where they can buy the product. As with many products, the use of plastic...

‘Significant’ investor interest in multimillion-dollar Otago cherry projects

[14 May/The Country] Cherry investment firm, Hortinvest, have sought expressions of interest for two multi-million dollar cherry orchards in Otago. These applications are now being processed by the firm. Hortinvest project and orchard development manager Ross Kirk declined to disclose how many applications had been received for the projects. Kirk commented that there has been...

Saffron a growing business

[13 May/Rural Life] Saffron is now being grown in Waitaki Valley by Kurow Saffron. The venture is run by sisters Sarah Hines and Joanna Towler who planted their first bulb in January 2017. The sisters report that this year has been as twice as productive as last year, as the bulbs multiply over time. Around...

Expanded DLF will boost farmer seed-supply contracts

[09 May/Farmers Weekly] Danish company DLF’s ownership of PGW seeds will give farmers more opportunities to grow forage and turf seed for international markets. This can occur because DLF will have access to a much larger range of seed products. The merger brings together the leading temperate forage and turf seeds developers in the northern...

Early fruit challenges Seeka

[02 May/Farmers Weekly] Seeka is well through its SunGold kiwifruit packing and reports the season is challenging due to a long, hot and dry summer. The weather has meant fruit maturity was bought forward, however early softening was a risk for some fruit according to Michael Franks, Chief Executive of Seeka. The company has completed...

Horticulture and forestry replace dairy as primary sector darlings

[28 April/Stuff NZ] Georgina Tui and Mate Covich are selling their dairy farm to avocado orchard developers and plan to buy another dairy farm. Mrs Tui reported that three other dairy farms near Kaitaia had been sold in the last two years for development into avocado orchards as the region provides a good climate and...

Avocados early to hit the $5 mark

[19 April/Stuff NZ] A $5 avocado is not unusual for a winter price, but the recent prices of $5 each, in autumn, is putting consumers off already. New Plymouth avocado grower Donald Johnson reports that the number of avocados on the market this year has gotten short a lot quicker this year. Dot Walton, a...

Kiwifruit workers scramble for Te Puke accommodation amid housing ‘crisis’

[14 April/The Country] Affordable accommodation is hard to find for seasonal workers in Te Puke during the kiwifruit picking season. The Western Bay District Council announced they are increasing monitoring of freedom camping areas during the season and that those breaking the local bylaw will be fined $200. Mayor Garry Webber reported the industry needs...

Pest fly found in citrus fruit

[12 April/Farmers Weekly] Larvae of the spotted wing drosophila were found in a single orange in a citrus shipment from the United States on 08 April.  The fly is not normally associated with citrus fruit but is a serious risk to a range of fruit crops. A temporary hold has been placed on citrus consignments...

Seventy new jobs for Central Hawke’s Bay as OIO approves farm conversion to huge apple orchard

[12 April/The Country] The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved Craigmore Sustainables to invest in developing an apple orchard in Hawke’s Bay. 130 hectares will be converted from pastoral farming and annual cropping into an apple orchard. The orchard is expected to be in production by mid-2020 with 73 full time employees. The investment is...

Bare land best kiwifruit option

[11 April/Farmers Weekly] Con Williams, MyFarm Investment Research head reports that bare land conversion may be a better option for SunGold Kiwifruit orchard investors. Williams reported this is due to the fact that SunGold Orchard sales values are around the million dollars a hectare mark. Three years ago planted land was fetching $525,000-$625,000 a hectare...

Seeka pumps $18m into Kerikeri kiwifruit packing facility

[11 April/The Country] Seeka has recently purchased Kerikeri kiwifruit packing facility and spent more than $18 million on it to modernise the outdated facility. Seeka purchased T&G Globals Waipapa Road packing operation in April last year and has since built a new packing shed and installed grading and sizing equipment. The upgrades are expected to...

Industry scrambles to find fruit pickers, offering $23.50 an hour

[09 April/Stuff NZ] The kiwifruit industry is in search for a number of workers to harvest fruit for the six to eight week season peak. The Ministry of Social Development has declared a shortage of workers for the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit harvest. The kiwifruit industry is just starting its main season with the industry...

High-end shoppers seek quality

[09 April/Farmers Weekly] Top-end Chinese supermarkets are using virtual stores to better understand their customers’ shopping habits, both on and off line. Premium shopping experiences have been limited to online stores but more online outlets are introducing physical shopping option. For Shanghai and Beijing based chain City Shop, they have added an online offering since its...

‘Outstanding’ apple season blighted by a lack of workers willing to pick them

[06 April/Stuff NZ] Despite Nelson Tasman is having a “great apple season”, there is a serious shortage of fruit-pickers. The Lynch family orchard behind Fashion Food reports having an unprecedented season, even with an extended drought and two wild-fire related evacuations but are struggling to find workers. The RSE programme is one way of getting...

Kiwifruit harvest gets off to a flying start

[02 April/Stuff NZ] More than 600,000 pallets of kiwifruit is expected to be exported this season. The first charter vessel carrying Zespri kiwifruit is now on its way to China and Japan with 4500 pallets after an early start to this year’s harvest. David Courtney, Zespri Chief Grower and Alliances Officer reported that for the...

Lifetime working with seeds and grains

[28 March/Rural Life] 84 year old Lindsay Green, from Timaru has spent a lifetime working in the grain and seed industry. When Mr Green started out, there was a great reliance on people’s knowledge without the aid of technology. Now, a lot of the assessing of seed is electronic. Mr Green started in the industry...

First charter ship carrying Zespri kiwifruit sets sail for China and Japan from Tauranga

[25 March/NZ Herald] The first shipment of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit has left New Zealand shores bound for China and Japan following an early start to the season. The shipment contained 3,000 pallets from the Bay of Plenty and 1,600 pallets from Gisborne which is collected earlier in the week. Zespri Chief Grower and Alliances Officer...

From rocket to rocket fuel: Plant waste could power planes

[25 March/NZ Herald] Scientists in China have developed a new process for converting plant waste from agriculture and timber harvesting into high-density aviation fuel. Their research may help reduce CO2 emissions from airplanes and rockets. The fuel’s main component, Cellulose, is cheap renewable and highly abundant. The scientists predict that it will result in higher...

Zespri China sales still growing

[22 March/Farmers Weekly] As the season’s kiwifruit is gearing up for harvest, the China office for Zespri is preparing for another year of strong growth, especially in the SunGold variety. Kiwifruit is now among the top five most popular fruit in China’s largest cities. Ivan Kinsella, Zespri China’s Corporate Affairs Manager reported that expectations for...

Sweetest apple goes on sale

 [21 March/Farmers Weekly] Posy apples, the sweetest New Zealand apple, is now being sold in China. There is strong demand in china for sweet, high colour apples. Mr Apple and Bostock NZ have joined up to exclusively grow and market Posy, with the apple finally having enough volume to export after 20 years of development....

Kiwifruit growers’ PSA case: Judge took right approach – lawyer

[18 March/Radio NZ] Last week, Crown lawyers announced to the Court of Appeal that the High Court misinterpreted the Biosecurity Act along with other legislation when It upheld the kiwifruit growers’ damages relating to the PSA outbreak. Last year, a group of kiwifruit growers won their battle for compensation from the then Ministry of Agriculture...

Red kiwifruit about to arrive on supermarket shelves – briefly

[14 March/Stuff NZ] Zespri is about to release 30,000 trays of the Zespri Red variety, grown on New Zealand orchards.  The red variety will be sold during a limited release in the next five weeks and is selling for around $7 per kg. The red fruit has a sweet taste similar to the SunGold variety...

As labour shortage bites, app aims to hook growers up with workers

[13 March/Stuff NZ] Genevieve Griffin-George, a Tasman Entrepreneur and Founder of PICMI, a cloud-based software, is helping horticulturalists find workers in the current shortage. PICMI has been designed to simplify the employment process for agricultural seasonal staff and was developed last year as part of the Xcelerate programme. The idea was born from personal experience...