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When Life Gives You Continual Raindrops

Posted By HBFA | December 22, 2023

It that time for analysing and pondering for many people, though perhaps not for summerfruit growers. Thinking back through the year, it is the people that have made this one memorable. It most certainly has also been memorable for the weather but that has been commented on often enough. Inside the Summerfruit NZ team, we said goodbye to Andrea and welcomed Raj to the core team. Then Andrea came back in the new Horticulture Executive Services Limited (HESL) setup. The continued association with Sally Anderson as R&D Manager and being thankful for Kate Hellstrom’s leadership are right up there too.

Summerfruit NZ’s involvement in A-Lighter-Touch (ALT) brings us into contact with passionate people from other product groups, which then flows onto shared solutions. With ALT, we have developed new agchem products and have more in the pipeline. I am now thinking about orchard floors in a different way because of the understory project.

Being part of the Future Orchard Production Systems (FOPS) stakeholder group brings us deeper contacts with some of the people at Plant & Food Research (PFR), which benefits the industry in the long term, as well as in this project.

The new lead entomologist at PFR Hastings joined one of my walk arounds earlier in the year. We are now involved in research projects where we might have been overlooked previously. The Agchem manufacturers and retailers’ reps continue to be a significant part of keeping the industry running and I thank them for being open to answering my silly questions. The Summerfruit NZ R&D programme is now stronger than it has been for a few years, not just because there are a few more dollars available as well as the stronger relationships with a broad range of intelligent motivated people.

Cyclone Gabrielle’s effects don’t need to be highlighted again but it has led to some positive outcomes, with product groups sharing knowledge and resources, then acting in a coordinated manner. The HAG, or the Horticulture Advisory Group, is now seen as a go to group in Hawke’s Bay for regional and national bodies to consult with. This model could be rolled out to other districts with the involvement of local fruit and vegetable growers associations. After Gabrielle, I took up the offer of office space with the good people at NZ Apples & Pears and now consider them colleagues, which directly and indirectly benefits the summerfruit industry.

It has been a big year for Summerfruit NZ. I think we have pretty much done what needed to be done. Now we trust that the sun will shine on your trees and that there will be some yummy summerfruit for summer.

Richard Mills
Summerfruit Technical Advisor
021 632559

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