Sector Reports, September

Posted By HBFA | September 17, 2020


Lisa Edgarton

There is genuine concern in the industry about the imminent labour crisis, if Government does not relax the current border restrictions.

Horticulture requires ~ 10,000 workers to enable this seasons crop to be picked. Thinning and canopy management will  begin in November and there is concern that extensive crop management will have to be undertaken if the industry can not source the labour it needs.

New Zealand Apple and Pears, Council representatives and Horticulture New Zealand are actively campaigning to achieve an outcome that will enable the industry to grow and harvest this seasons crop. We will keep you updated on progress.

In the orchard, greentip has started and growers are applying fungicides- this will continue from now on till harvest. Bud burst seems to be relatively even, with the bud breakers getting a head start. The last of winter pruning is currently being undertaken along with general orchard maintenance.



Richard Pentreath,  KGI Lower North Island Representative

KVH invites Hawke’s Bay kiwifruit growers to a presentation about KVH’s proposed new Pathway Management Plan. The meeting will be focused on the proposed new regulation framework to better manage biosecurity risk to the kiwifruit industry. Development of the plan has advanced well and information can be found on the KVH website.

KVH are required to present evidence that growers support the proposed changes in order to gain government approval so growers are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting to learn how the proposal could benefit the industry:

Thursday 24 September, 10.30am – 12.30pm, Crown Hotel, Ahuriri.

Please RSVP to  KVH Grower Roadshow

On the orchard, bud break is well underway for both Green and Gold varieties.  It is too early to predict flower numbers but percentage bud break on Gold3 vines looks to be in the normal/expected range.  With new leaves emerging, growers will be paying close attention to forecast disease risk (Psa) and applying protective sprays prior to high risk events.

The recent Zespri roadshow was well attended by Hawke’s Bay growers and there was healthy discussion on key topics including illegal growing of Gold3 in China, selection of new fruit maturity testing facilities and harvest clearance protocols for the 2021 season.



Richard Mills, Summerfruit NZ Market Support

Spring is upon us and there has been more than enough winter chilling in the Wider Hawke’s Bay regions (Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay) to provide for good bud break and flower quality, even for the more demanding Summerfruit crops such as cherries and apricots.

We received more than 1000 Richardson Chill Units (RCU) between 1 May – 30 August  in all stonefruit regions throughout New Zealand. Central Otago, in comparison received in the vicinity of 1500 RCU’s  for the same period.

Bloom kicked in from about mid-August, with growing degree days for the month of August normal to slightly above. The 24°C on the last day of August, does seem a bit over the top, but we’ll take it! There were four moderate or severe infection periods during August, so well worthwhile having those early cover sprays on.

All things considered, we are having a normal start to the season, with some variation depending on when the warm days arrived and the stage the trees are at. The only thing we would like some more of, is soil water.

Summerfruit growers can source climate data on the Summerfruit NZ website portal. If you have not registered please contact me at richard.mills@summerfruitnz.co.nz .

Summerfruit representatives and associates are able to register as well.

Flower thinning with ATS and via mechanical means is underway. Hand thinning is most likely another 2 weeks for early nectarines. We hope government, in conjunction with sector organisations, can ease border restrictions to enable the industry to have adequate labour for the coming season. Having said that, make plan A, plan B and plan C.

At the end of August, the rescheduled SummerGreen meeting was held in Hastings. The first session discussed the extent to which old chemistry is still being used in the industry, and the industry benchmarking report. We then broadened this to look at what a new generation Summerfruit IFP programme could look like. The second session looked at new variety development and discussed the implications of the severely limited new variety imports from North America and what New Zealand plant breeders are currently producing.

Summerfruit NZ is also involved in on-going industry initiatives. ‘A Lighter Touch’ project is bringing together many of the industry organizations to investigate using softer chemistry. This dove-tailed nicely with what the PFR scientists highlighted during the SummerGreen meeting.

The second initiative is a government initiated ‘Horticulture Post-COVID recovery’ project which is bringing together industry personnel from Horticulture New Zealand and the sector groups. Whilst both of these initiatives are still in the set-up phase, it will be interesting to compare and contrast, to see what we are doing well and what we can learn from the other sectors. Watch this space, I guess.

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