Horticulture

Horticulture industry scores another record breaking year

[16 May/Rural News] The New Zealand horticulture industry had a record breaking year in 2017 with exports reaching $5.12 billion. The industry value was up $100 million from last year at $8.8 billion. According to Plant and Food Research horticulture produce accounted for 10.3 percent of New Zealand’s export income. The growth was primarily driven...

Tasman seasonal labour shortest in years – growers

[10 May/Radio NZ] Tasman fruit growers said more needed to be done to deal with severe horticultural labour shortages. Two big storms dented both the regions reputation as a nice place to visit, and also the accommodation needed for harvest workers. Lower Moutere grower, Ian Palmer, said it had been the hardest season for finding...

Scales to sell cold storage unit to US-based Emergent Cold

[9 May/NZ Herald] Scales Corp will sell its cold storage businesses to US cold chain company, Emergent Cold. The deal will be for $151.4 million. Scales Corp Chairman, Tim Goodacre, said the Group’s strengths were operating fully-vertically integrated agriculture businesses, participating in businesses with an export focus and adding value through connection to the China...

Lid is off Whakatu’s new $30m ‘black box’ apple juice drink factory

[8 May/The Country] A new $30 million drinks factory in Whakatu was opened and hosts newly formed apple producer, The Apple Press. The company was founded by local apple grower and businessman, Ross Beaton. The plant employs 27 people and can produce thousands of bottles of juice per hour. Mr Beaton likened it as the...

Four vie for HortNZ Board

[2 May/Rural News] The Horticulture New Zealand Board elections opened with four candidates competing for two positions. Horticulture New Zealand President, Julian Raine, said they had not had such strong contest for some time and the calibre of candidates indicated how well horticulture was doing. Mike Smith offered himself for re-election, and the new candidates...

Chinese authorities intercept 120 trays of fake Zespri product at fruit market

[3 May/Stuff] Chinese government officials intercepted 120 trays of fake Zespri kiwifruit being sold in a fruit market. Zespri Mainland China General Manager, Holly Brown, said Zespri worked with Chinese government officials to identify and prosecute where possible. Ms Brown said Zespri sold $500 million of kiwifruit in mainland China last season and China was...

Ministry declares 1200-person kiwifruit labour shortage in Bay of Plenty

[8 May/The Country] For the first time in over a decade, a seasonal labour shortage was announced in the Bay of Plenty. The Ministry of Social Development said the region needed 1,200 additional workers to pick and pack kiwifruit. Zespri did not expect the labour situation to have any material impact on the season or...

Seeka buys T&G assets

[30 April/Farmers Weekly] T&G will sell its kiwifruit orchards, packhouse facilities and assets to Seeka. The deal is worth about $40 million. Seeka recently sold out its shares in Zespri Group after opposing constitutional changes that tied shareholdings to trays of fruit produced. T&G will still have access to fruit grown by Seeka for its...

Trio taking $5m bet on medicinal cannabis industry that doesn’t exist yet

[31 March/NZ Herald] Advertising Executive, Paul Manning, has left his role as the Managing Director of the ad agency 99 to take what is essentially a $5 million bet on an industry that doesn’t yet exist. He is joining cannabis start-up Helius Therapeutics. Mr Manning said all three men had given up salaries and high-paying...

Onion crop slashed by disease

[29 March/Radio NZ] New Zealand’s onion crop has decreased by at least 20 percent due to humid weather which resulted in a leaf disease. Onions New Zealand Chief Executive, Michael Ahern, said stemphylium had damaged plants and caused difficulties in some growing areas. The onion industry commissioned Plant and Food Research to find out more...

New website aims to make it easier for seasonal workers and employers

[23 March/Stuff] The Work The Seasons website was launched in Pukekohe by the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, and the Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson. It is designed to make it easier for seasonal workers to find jobs and employers to find the right candidates. Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman, said they...

Zespri: Kiwifruit crop increase could lead to labour shortage

[30 March/The Country] New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc Chief Executive, Nikki Johnson, said early indications show an increased crop this year, particularly for SunGold. She added that the industry was expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years. EastPack Chief Executive, Hamish Simson, noted its six sites could pack 38 million trays this season...

Three hundred apple pickers found but labour shortage extended

[26 March/The Country] Half of Hawke’s Bay’s apples were waiting to be picked, and the government has extended the regional labour shortage to give it more time. Even with three hundred extra apple pickers who have come forward to help out, MSD East Coast Regional Council Commissioner, Annie Aranui, said they still needed more. She...

Kiwifruit sales to China, Japan set to hit $1 billion

[25 March/NZ Herald] Zespri said sales to China were tracking at a record $500 million, while Japan looked set to make it double completing another half a billion dollars in sales. China and Japan are Zespri’s two biggest markets and most of the fruit sold there was from New Zealand. Zespri’s spokesperson, Rachel Lynch, said...

Zespri shareholders vote in favour of changes to constitution

[14 March/NZ Farmer] Zespri shareholders have voted to ensure active growers have greater control of the co-operative. A share cap will be introduced with growers able to hold a maximum of four shares for each tray of kiwifruit that they supply to Zespri.  This will mean around 8 percent of growers are ‘overshared’, whereas 29...

Massive 98 hectare kiwifruit property on the market

[18 March/NZ Herald] A large kiwifruit orchard comprised of three mid to large blocks of land in the Bay of Plenty was for sale by Bayley’s. The orchard portfolio came with an option to buy 677,720 Zespri shares. Bayley’s Managing Director, Mike Bayley, said it was rare to see a portfolio that large on the...

Kumara worries: Growers battle wet weather

[15 March/Radio NZ] Northland kumara growers were worried about possible crop losses due to the extremely wet summer. The weather caused prices to increase to around $9 per kilogram, and Kaipara Kumara Manager, Anthony Blundell, said that so far only 15 percent of the crop had been harvested and some growers believed this was the...

Berry group hopes for a $1b export business

[15 March/NZ Herald] A new joint venture between a Maori collective, Miro Limited Partnership, and government owned science company, Plant and Food Research, will use new technologies to grow berries for export in climates and regions that have not typically been used. Miro’s Director and Horticultural Entrepreneur, Steve Saunders, said the business had a vision...

Fruit-picking labour shortage declared in Hawke’s Bay

[13 March/NZ Herald] The Ministry of Social Development has declared a seasonal labour shortage across Hawke’s Bay in the midst of the bumper apple and pear season. East Coast Regional Commissioner, Annie Aranui, said the declaration was for the March 12 to April 6 period. She added that they would continue to support jobseekers still...

Apple growers positive but labour shortage could spoil season

[1 March/The Country] Although a bumper crop of Hawke’s Bay apples is being harvested early this year, there were fears a labour shortage could leave thousands of apples unpicked. A spokeswoman for Bostock said they have a good quality crop and that it was going to be a bumper season, however labour shortages meant they...

Scales Corp profit slumps 17% on weaker prices

[28 February/The Country] Due to weaker sales prices and increased on-orchard costs due to poor weather, Scales Corp posted a 17 percent drop in 2017 profit. Their net profit fell from $38.2 million in 2016 to $31.8 million in 2017. Scales Chair, Tim Goodacre, said that the Hawke’s Bay region experienced a difficult growing season...

Vegetable prices grow as crops rot

[5 March/Radio NZ] Across the country, vegetables such as cauliflower had increased to up to $10 a head which is more than double the average price. Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman, said heavy rain, cyclone Gita and high humidity are causing crops to go to seed or rot. He added that limited supply...

Hot, humid weather hits green vege crops across the North Island

[27 February/The Country] Humidity has affected North Island vegetable growers, causing shortages of some vegetables and price increases as a result. Annette Laird of Foodstuffs NZ confirmed the weather has caused some issues. She added broccoli, cauliflower and fresh cut lettuce and salad are likely to be in tight supply. An employee at The Orchard...

Waikato tea estate brews up a style to rival New York and Milan

[23 February/NZ Herald] The only tea plantation in New Zealand, Zealong Tea Estate, was rated among the world’s top retail designers as a finalist in a European award. The show room area of the Gordonton, Waikato premium tea exporter was a finalist. Zealong General Manager, Gigi Crawford, said it was rewarding to be recognised. They...