Jens Liesebach, KGI Lower North Island Representative
Spring is just around the corner. Buds have broken in Gold orchards and the early Green orchards are not too far behind. With budbreak, comes crop protection. All young green tissue should be protected from the kiwifruit vine disease PSA. Failure to do so can result in flower bud abortion, red oozing or worst case dieback of the vine. Birds also seem to be particularly interested in green shoots and small flower buds this year.
Future access to the Chinese market will require thorough control of scale this season. There are various options for how to manage scale numbers during the season. A couple of solutions are to remove host plants surrounding your kiwifruit blocks e.g. willows and poplars and to apply chemicals. Please talk to your packhouse representative or chemical merchant for scale control options for your orchard.
At the last Zespri townhall meeting, Zespri highlighted the challenges of transporting the fruit to the market due to limited shipping capacity. The same applies to the importers bringing goods in to New Zealand. This season, some kiwifruit growers have missed out on the critical supply of Advanced Gold ( budbreaker product) due to the inability to source one ingredient from overseas for this New Zealand made product. I am not aware of any supply and demand issues for products yet, but please stay in contact with your merchant to avoid any surprises!
COVID is back in the community. I know that many orchards kept working during lockdown levels 3 and 4. To be able to keep working was a privilege and not a right. NZKGI was in constant contact with the relevant institutions to provide guidance and assistance about new alert level requirements. On my orchard we established procedures to follow the new rules and all team members got vaccinated within a short time. These actions will hopefully keep COVID risk levels low. Our industry already has a much smaller pool of workers available this season. What is your Covid strategy on the orchard?