Horticulture

Berry farm gets government help to expand hydroponic operation

(15 July/Stuff) A $2.37 million loan has been granted to Maungatapere Berries by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to help it expand its operation by a further four hectares. The expansion is hoped to be the first-phase of a high tech education, training and employment operation that will see 45 full-time jobs created says...

Concentrating on blackcurrants

(3 July/Rural Life) Pleasant Point growers Tony and Afsaneh Howey have had to sell and give up leases to 600ha of land to focus on their blackcurrant business. Mr Howey said they were keen to find a young grower to take on the land but unfortunately that didn’t happen so selling was the only option....

Avocado prices plunge as new season starts

(11 July/Stuff) Supplies of avocados have increased as the new season has begun and are now selling at Countdown for $2.70 each or two for $5 around the country, much lower that prices reported in May. High prices caused many cafes and restaurants to pull avocados from their menus. A spokesperson from Countdown reported that...

Rezoning could badly affect cherry growers

[3 July/Rural Life] At the reconvened hearing on Tuesday into plan change 13, which would allow a 900-lot residential development on the outskirts of Cromwell, commissioners were told the production of cherries and other summer fruits in Cromwell orchards would be irreversibly impacted if the plan change was granted. Horticulture New Zealand environmental policy adviser...

Plant breeder’s world role

[27 June/Farmers Weekly] The appointment of a New Zealand representative to the International Seed Federation board is key to local plant breeders staking a peg on the global radar, Plant Breeders Association general manager Thomas Chin says. Industry stalwart Brent Stirling was elected to the international role at the federation’s 95th World Seed Congress in...

NZ could go bananas over climate change

[24 June/Rural Life] Head of Horticulture New Zealand Mike Chapman reports that bananas might one day be a staple crop for the country due to climate change. Mr Chapman wants growers and farmers to see the opportunities climate change might bring as well as the barriers as some new crops begin to thrive whilst others...

Avocado heists feed sushi black market

[21 June/Rural Life] Avocado thieves are forcing growers to install cameras and electric fences to protect their fruit from a black market that is believed to be supplying sushi shops. Tauranga growers Liz Pratt and Neville Cooper have caught the latest thieves on film after two separate night break-ins on 08 June and 12 June,...

New horizons for bulb exporters

[19 June/Rural life] Tulip bulb exporters Horizon Flowers New Zealand Ltd has paid $7.8million for a 162ha dairy farm at Mabel Bush. The Dutch-owned company gained ministerial approval for the purchase in April, which would allow it to effectively increase it’s planting to 80ha and add around one million flowers to its export revenues. Horizon...

Dual cropping to increase efficiency in commercial hemp farming

[10 June/The Country] New multi-purpose hemp cropping innovations by Hemp NZ, Carrfields and NZ Yarn could place New Zealand at the forefront of innovation as they look at ways to have highly efficient use of the entire plant, resulting in higher potential returns for growers. The innovations, which are the first to be developed and...

NZ prepares for its avocado congress bid

[06 June/The Country] Jen Scoular, CEO of NZ Avocado reports that the company has been preparing its bid to host the World Avocado Congress in 2023. Last year it was held in Colombia and Mrs Scoular reports that hosting the congress would be a big benefit for New Zealand which would bring between 1000 and...

Cherry orchard plans staff accommodation

[05 June/Rural Life] New Zealand Cherry Corp, in Cromwell has recently bought a neighbouring 244 hectare block of farmland to double their orchard size and have plans to build worker accommodation for its seasonal staff on 4 of those hectares. Director Paul Croft said the expansion will allow the firm to employ 200 to 300...

Iwi hort gets boost on coast

[30 May/Farmers Weekly] Iwi and the kiwifruit industry are welcoming the latest funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund which consists of $370,000 being placed into a kiwifruit project. The project is run through Te Kaha Landowners, an iwi consortium of six ahuwhenua trusts that own kiwifruit orchards across the East Coast area. The initial...

Horticulture’s earnings surge

[29 May/Farmers Weekly] Vegetable seed exports have helped push the horticultural sector to a record earnings year, lifting total sales by $400 million to top $9.2 billion in the year ended on June 30 last year. Kiwifruit claims the top spot, making $1.86 billion in export earnings, up 40 percent on the five year average....

Multimillion-dollar cherry venture

[28 May/Rural Life] Mt Pisa Station has been named as the location for the latest multimillion-dollar cherry venture in Central Otago. 80 hectares of the station’s land will be planted out in cherries for export from 2021-22. Station manager Shane MacMillan said the family’s sheep and beef business would invest in the $15.5million project to...

Shipping problems leave oranges in short supply

[27 May/Stuff NZ] Several supermarkets in Christchurch were out of oranges over the weekend due to shipping problem’s affecting the city’s supply. Countdown supermarkets have reported this issue has been fixed and their stores are fully stocked with oranges. There should be no problem sourcing the half-time staple for the rest of the winter sports...

Narrow leaves make better crops for future climates

[24 May/The Country] Scientists have reported varieties of crops with narrow leaves could be more productive and use water more efficiently. Examples reported of these include corn and sorghum. The implications of this study for breeders are huge, as narrow leaves may allow more light to enter into the lower leaves of the crop canopy...

Zespri strikes gold in season’s returns

[24 May/Farmers Weekly] Zespri’s gross revenue has exceeded $3 billion, a first for the kiwifruit marketer. The results have SunGold growers, particularly, in the box seat for increased returns, up 28 percent on last year. Zespri experienced a 21 percent increase in sales volume last season, moving a record 167.2 million trays over the 2018-19...

Cherry export crop down by a third

[21 May/The Country] Final export figures for Central Otago cherries show that both harvests and income were down from the previous season. Central Otago typically export 90% of New Zealand’s cherries. Summerfruit New Zealand figures released last week showed nationwide cherry exports were down by more than a third in tonnage, dropping from 4244 tonnes...

Avocados for $2.50 each after New Plymouth couple asked what people want to pay

[17 May/Stuff NZ] Donald and Robyn Johnson are selling two avocados in a bag for $5 to make it simpler for their customers. They operate an honesty box system and decided on the price after asking around at what people would be happy to pay for the fruit. As prices for the out-of-season fruit reach...

Consumer demand drives growth in salads

[16 May/Rural News] Chief Executive of LeaderBrand Richard Burke reports that consumer demand has driven growth in the salad market, with salads making up between 30% to 40% of LeaderBrand’s total business. Mr Burke reports that the salad category has been growing annually at 5% to 10% over the last twenty years which he puts...

Summerfruit NZ plans big spend for industry growth

[15 May/Rural Life] Summerfruit New Zealand (SNZ) is planning on spending nearly $17 million during the next seven years to help grow the industry and earn money. Two consultation meetings with growers and other industry stakeholders were held in Alexandra and Napier last week to outline “Sensational Summerfruit: A bold plan for growth programme” and...

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...