Jens Liesebach, KGI Lower North Island Representative
Nearly there. The Gold Kiwifruit harvest is over and only a few more Green Kiwifruit blocks are left to harvest. Great effort. It can be said that it hasn’t been an easy harvest as the impact of Covid and limited numbers of workers added complexity and uncertainty. One grower for example had to limit the number of bins picked daily due to packing constraints in the packhouse. At times it was uncomfortable seeing the fruit maturity progressing faster than the picking rate allowed, but the weather played ball, and everything was harvested in the end. Now that the responsibility for the kiwifruit has been handed over to the packhouses, it is time to reflect on the season past. What went well and where is there room for improvement? This will most likely help with the preparation for the new season. Other jobs at this time of the year might be general maintenance and setting standards for winter pruning.
The results of the 2022 Closed Tender Bid process for Zespri SunGold and RubyRed were released last week. The Median Price per hectare for both varieties, Gold and Red, went up, which indicates that there is still strong faith in the Zespri brand. However, not all growers were satisfied with the new framework around the tender process. Zespri are conducting a review of their license release to ensure the pathway remains fit-for purpose and as streamlined as possible. There will be several opportunities to give feedback on the current state and proposed future Licence Release pathway. More information here.
The use of hydrogen cyanamide as a bud breaker is under review by the EPA. This process started mid 2021 and the end of submission was on 20 December 2021. Both NZKGI and Zespri submitted documents to express their concerns about the removal of hydrogen cyanamide from the grower’s toolbox. To support their argument, further studies will be carried out this winter, namely on worker health and bird distribution in orchards in winter. The results will be presented to the EPA in September 2022. Around November EPA staff will issue updated advice to EPA Decision Making Committee followed by EPA public hearings from December.
KVH reminds growers to stay vigilant for new and unwanted pests as egg masses of the Fall Armyworm were recently discovered in Tauranga – with further detections found in the Waikato, Taranaki and Auckland regions (indicating it seems to have been here for a while). While kiwifruit is not known to be a host of this pest it is known to feed on more than 350 plant species and can cause crop damage, as well as defoliation in severe cases (like Tropical Army Worm), so growers are encouraged to stay vigilant and report anything of concern. Images below are there to help identify the Fall Armyworm (MPI). More information on Fall Armyworm can be found on the KVH website here.