Summerfruit update

Posted By HBFA | April 23, 2024

The harvest season for summerfruit is now well finished with the final plums being managed through stores. There were also some peaches and nectarines that had been on display for a good while, which on sampling, all had internal breakdown. This fruit is doing the reputation of the industry no good.

The A Lighter Touch programme continues to bring the various product groups together. Recently, at the Plant & Food Research fresh vegetable demonstration farm in Pukekohe, participants looked at a variety of approaches. We heard from Dr Charles Merfield on the importance of a biodiverse landscape, Dr Brad Howlett on native plantings to support beneficial insects, and Mike  Arnold with the LeaderBrand story to date, with their native plantings. The visit to the field highlighted some of the differences between field and permanent crops, not that there are many, and the similarity of how weather can mess up trials.

PDFs from the workshop can be found at Biodiverse planting on vegetable farms – A Lighter Touch (a-lighter-touch.co.nz) with videos of the presentations available shortly. These are well worth a look if you are at all interested in this space.

Charles Merfield again presented, this time at the SummerGreen meetings. Charles told us that weed control is an evolving space that we need to be aware of, as there is increased resistance and no new active ingredients available, but there is new technology to help. This ties in very nicely with our own understory management projects that are getting under way in Hawke’s Bay. These projects will compliment those already growing in Central Otago.

One of the other key presentations was from the Plant & Food Research pollination team at Ruakura. Some of the past work for summerfruit was reviewed. We then looked forward to some ideas to make pollination a more resilient process for our early flowering crops. The review of artificial pollination on stonefruit in the USA suggested that it’s all possible and useful, as a back up to insect pollination.

These presentations, as well as the other presentations, will be available on the Summerfruit NZ portal soon.

As has been a recent trend, product groups are working together where this makes sense. The sharing of ideas and trial work means we don’t all need to reinvent the wheel, which is the most efficient use of grower levy money

Richard Mills
Summerfruit Technical Advisor
021 632559

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