The start of Spring has been rather tumultuous with frost, hail and plenty of rain events. Some apple orchards have used helicopters to apply crop protection sprays as the ground is very wet. To my knowledge this technique is not applied here in the Hawke’s Bay on kiwifruit orchards and could be worth considering. Activities on the orchard focus on adjusting G3 shoot numbers and removing lateral flowers. One observation is that the numbers of flowers per shoot could be challenging.
Our fellow kiwifruit growers in the Bay of Plenty have seen some unseasonal frosts, including areas which don’t traditionally require frost protection. While some frost damage will have the potential to reduce spring growth, some unfortunate growers may have lost up to 40% canopy due to leaf burn. Adverse events, such as frost, can be very stressful for growers and my thoughts are with them.
The announcement of the increase in Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) workers to a total of 19,000 workers and the return of open borders will hopefully give us more confidence that the shortage of labour will not be as dire as the 2022 season. In addition, NZKGI will continue to run programmes to train and attract New Zealanders to the kiwifruit industry, such as our Labour Attraction Campaign.
Applications for the two 2022 Kellogg Rural Leaders Programmes are being accepted. The closing date for applications for the 2023 Lincoln Programme One is 30 October 2022 (programme starts on January 24). Lincoln Programme Two starts on June 13 and these applications close 16 April next year. Register here.
I am moving on after 15 years in the kiwifruit industry. During my time, attempts were made to undermine the Single Point of Entry (SPE), the bacterial disease PSA brought the growing community to its knees and there was a pandemic that put our country into lockdown. I have valued the collaborative approach between growers and experts to tackle these challenges and build resilience into the system such as Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH). If the same approach is used to resolve the fruit loss issue experienced last season, then I have no doubt that the industry will continue to thrive.
I wish you all the best for the future.
KGI Lower North Island Representative