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Two organisations very dear to our heart and also very significant within the New Zealand primary sector have celebrated 100 year milestones recently. These being the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) and the New Zealand Grain & Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA). 100 years in any business or organisation is a significant milestone and should be treated as such. We therefore congratulate both organisations on the tireless representation of their members and the work they have carried out for the greater good.


MANA - charlotte@ 021 301 677

The Seeds of Success book that has been created to tell the story of 100 years of the New Zealand seed industry is an incredible testament to those whom contributed their stories and those who have made this collection of stories a possibility. Likewise the video put together by the PVGA to document the past changes and current issues the local growing industry has covered in the 100 years left me feeling incredibly proud to be associated with the industry. These milestones obviously provide an opportunity to reflect on the past and the history of the organisation and associated industry, but they should also be an opportunity to consider how the future 100 years may play out.

South Pacific Seed Sales (NZ) Ltd 12 Alpito Place ∙ PO Box 804 Pukekohe 2340 Phone +64 9 239 0890 Freephone 0800 77 22 43





From my involvement and association with both organisations and the celebrations of these milestones I believe there is a common point – that being that we all need to do much better at telling our story. Emotional advertising is a technique of the current time and seems to serve its purpose in drawing us in. How many of you like me have watched the Sealord ad having no idea that the story of the little girl practicing her swimming and the Dad that can’t swim had anything to do with fish products!!! Tugging at the heart strings is a sure way to gain a connection with our audience and hopefully evoke some empathy for the product, company or cause. We in the vegetable and seed industries are not very good at using these tools currently being used by our friends at Fonterra, Zespri and other such organisations. Perhaps we wouldn’t be continuing to talk about our issues of the urban rural divide, reverse sensitivity, prices paid for our produce, lack of willing workers and a manner of other issues if we were better at telling our story. Telling our story needs to come with an inclination to share what is great about our industry but also a commitment to investing industry money in marketing. I really hope that in the very near future there is a conversation in both the vegetable industry but also the seed industry about how we can tell our story as an industry rather than an individual and how this may be funded to ensure the end result is professional, engaging and evokes empathy and interest from our customers. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season.


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2 News & Events


Sweet pepper portfolio 12 continues to expand


One step closer to crops with twice the yield




Capsicum & lettuce


Growing successful business partnerships The business of growing

DISCLAIMER Descriptions, recommendations and information provided are based on an average of data and observations collected from our trials, and shall correspond as closely as possible to practical experience. This information shall be provided to assist professional growers and users, whereby variable local conditions must be taken into account. Significant variations may occur in the performance of products due to a range of conditions including cultural/ management practices, climate, soil type and geographic location. Under no circumstances shall South Pacific Seed Sales (NZ) Ltd accept liability based on such information for deviating results in the cultivated product. The Purchaser shall itself determine whether the items are suitable for the intended cultivation and whether they can be used under local circumstances. | 01

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19TH - 20TH



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featuring our exciting new Kalettes

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For your copy please contact


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Christmas closure

The Christmas season is upon us!

We will be closing our offices temporarily while we take some time out to share with family and friends. We wish you and your family all the best for the Christmas holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year. Please place your seed orders in advance to ensure you have sufficient seed for you requirements over this period.

SPS - Closed: 25th December - 3rd January Seed Innovations - Closed: 24th December - 7th January


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Annabel Bulk from Felton Road Wines in Bannockb urn, Central Otago is New Zeala nd’s Young Horticulturist of the Year 2018 Winner.




Second: Devin We stley, Woods Nursery in Christchurc h Third: Danni van der Heijden, Avoco in Tauranga

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Angus possibly will be America’s farmer of the future. He's heavyset, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pounds, and he is a bit slow. But he's strong enough to hoist 800-pound pallets of maturing vegetables and can move them from place to place on his own. Angus is a robot. To Brandon Alexander, Angus and other robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture that aims to raise lettuce, basil and other produce Iron Ox planted its first robot farm in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in San Carlos, California. Although no deals have been struck yet, Alexander says Iron Ox has been talking to San Francisco Bay area restaurants interested in buying its leafy vegetables and expects to begin selling to supermarkets next year.

The Alternative Meat Co. is Life Health Food’s new plant-based meat alternative available in Countdown, New World and PAK’nSAVE. It looks, smells and tastes like meat, but is better for the environment and contains no cholesterol. The innovative food is designed to meet the needs of the growing trend of ‘flexitarianism’, a diet which is heavily plant-based but allows for some meat consumption. The Alternative Meat Co. products are available in two distinct flavours: Lightly Smoked Beef-Free Chunks, and Lemon & Thyme Chicken-Free Strips.



LED OR HYBRID LIGHTING In week 38 bell pepper plants from the variety Mavera have been planted in two test greenhouses of the Improvement Centre in Bleiswijk. One greenhouse with hybrid lighting (SON-T + LED) and one greenhouse with 100% LED. The research is being conducted by Delphy Improvement Centre and Plant Lighting and is being closely monitored by bell pepper growers and cultivation advisers.

The second of six educational sessions finalised for the 2018 Organic Grower Summit will focus on managing the challenges of plant health in organic production systems. “Managing Organic Production Systems to Promote Plant Health” will feature organic industry experts in plant health offering a discussion on maintaining plant health without the use of synthetic inputs to enhance plant nutrition or control pests and disease. "In our national survey of organic farmers, pest and disease management emerged as a top priority, along with soil health," said Brise Tencer, executive director at OFRF. "There's a wealth of new research available that addresses the unique challenges facing organic farmers and ranchers, and we are excited about the opportunity to get the latest information and resources out to more producers." The Organic Grower Summit, a joint production between California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Organic Produce Network (OPN), brings together organic growers, producers and processors for two days of education, information and networking opportunities with organic production supply chain and service providers. |

BIGGEST GREENHOUSE IN THE WORLD – OVER THE VALLEY PROJECT A Japanese company has designed "the biggest greenhouse in human history". Not for growing vegetables, but for creating a touristic destination out of a valley. By covering a valley in the Chinese Hebel province with glass roofs, they want to create a mountainous "Utopia". | 03

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Scientists from Wageningen University & Research have found natural genetic variation for photosynthesis in plants and are unravelling it to the DNA level. As a result it should be possible to breed crops that use photosynthesis more effectively in the future, increasing their yield and enabling them to capture more CO2 from the air in the soil. This represents a major step on the long road to solving global food challenges and realising the Paris climate agreement.

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Led by Mark Aarts and Jeremy Harbinson, a team of scientists has shown that thale cress (a common model plant) has various genes involved in the adaptation to changes in the amount of light to which plants are exposed. Their study is published in an article in Nature Communications. One gene has already been studied in detail. Known as the Yellow Seedling 1 gene, it is involved in the adaptation of chloroplasts to light changes. Due to a variation in this gene, some thale cress plants can handle an increase of light (the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day, for example) better than others. It is the first time that this variation has been found in thale cress, but as the genes for photosynthesis occur in nearly all plant species, the scientists expect that a similar variation can be found in many other crops t oo. The discovery shows that it is possible to improve photosynthesis based on natural genetic variation, something which was doubted until now. In the long term, breeding on improved photosynthesis could make crops produce more yield with the same amount of soil, water and nutrients. This brings the concept of ‘more’ (yield) ‘with less’ (soil, water and nutrients) one step closer.

SOME PLANTS ADAPT THEIR PHOTOSYNTHESIS SYSTEM Plants need light to convert CO2 and water into sugars and oxygen. The sugars form the basis and energy source for all the substances that a plant produces in order to grow. We have known for some time that plants can respond differently to light, as is shown in the efficiency of their photosynthesis. The ancestors of the crops we eat on a daily basis needed this variation to make the best use of the places in which they grew. It allowed them to develop both in full sunlight and in the shade of other plants. While photosynthesis is an essential process for plants, it comes at a risk and demands a high level of control to manage energy streams. If a plant is suddenly exposed to too much light, it has to adapt to the new situation. Plants generally protect themselves against excessive photosynthesis by maintaining various safety margins, which means that the adaptation takes several days. The study by the Wageningen scientists now shows that some plants can adapt quicker than others, and are thus able to adapt their photosynthesis system to their environment sooner.

SELECTION ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS IN BREEDING Nowadays, we breed crops in an environment that is far easier to control than the original natural conditions. For example, plants now get sufficient nutrients and water, aligned to maximum growth. Due to the fast developments in agriculture over the past century, plants have not yet been able to adapt to these new conditions. One could say they are still cautious and respond relatively slowly to sudden changes such as excessive light. Plants which can adapt to changing light conditions faster will be able to use the available water and nutrients more efficiently, eventually producing a higher yield. So how come there is so little selection on more efficient photosynthesis in breeding? It was long thought that photosynthesis was naturally optimised and that little could be gained in breeding. Moreover, it is very difficult to measure the genetic contribution to the variation of photosynthesis of plants in the field, making it difficult to select on photosynthesis without prior knowledge. As photosynthesis is so sensitive to weather conditions, variations in the field – even between genetically identical plants – are often substantial. “We carried out our experiments under tightly controlled conditions, allowing us to keep variation in the environmental factors to a minimum,” says Aarts. “We then measured the photosynthesis of all plants in the experiment at various times of day and via an identical method, and only applied a single stress factor: a one-off increase in the amount of light. This allowed us to precisely determine the genetic contribution to how plants adapted to the new stressful situation. We used one of the genes we found to study the variation in DNA sequence between the various plants in detail.”

NEW CROP VARIETIES The findings offer breeding companies new opportunities. We now know that plants respond to light variation in their own way, and that this is determined in their DNA. We don’t yet know how these adaptations work in the plant, however, and more research is required to find out how improved photosynthesis affects the growth of the plant before we can focus on selection for this property. Source:, Wageningen University & Research

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Producing a strong plant, ATALANTE is fast into production with very regular fruit set that ensures continual fruit load and therefore reliable yields to meet market demand. The plant has an open habit which allows for ease of crop work, crucial in reducing production costs. The fruit quality of ATALANTE is excellent producing large, heavy fruit with thick walls that have good shelf life post-harvest and good tolerance to internal fruit rot. Quick to colour, ATALANTE fruit have a true yellow colour (no orangey hue) with an attractive glossy skin and thick fruit stem which presents well. Good uniformity of fruit shape and size ensures a higher proportion of first class fruit.

MAVERA is a high quality, blocky red variety which is regular in its setting and fast to colour. With a generative nature, MAVERA sets flowers easily and regularly throughout the plant producing a consistent and reliable harvest. The fruit of MAVERA are an attractive, uniform blocky shape with a brilliant red colour and good firmness. MAVERA copes well with high fruit load and is strong against blossom end rot and internal fruit rot. • 185-210g fruit weight

A high quality orange variety, ORANDINO produces fruit in the small to medium size range with an average fruit weight of approximately 185 grams. With attractive presentation the fruit of ORANDINO are very regular in shape, predominantly 4 lobed and with a bright orange colour and good gloss. A labour friendly plant due to the generative growth and open habit, ORANDINO has sufficient power to continue growing and setting throughout the season. The fruit of ORANDINO are very firm with thick fruit walls and excellent shelf life.

• 3-4 lobed blocky fruit shape


VARIETY FEATURES • 200-210g fruit weight • 4 lobed, longer blocky fruit shape


• Generative fruit type

• 175-190g fruit weight


• 3-4 lobed, blocky fruit shape

High Resistance: Tm:0-2

• Generative plant type

Intermediate Resistance: TSWV:0

DISEASE RESISTANCES High Resistance: Tm:0-3

• Generative plant type DISEASE RESISTANCES High Resistance: Tm: 0-3 To request commercial seed or a sample for your evaluation of these varieties please contact the SPS office on

0800 77 22 43 06 |

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EZME (SPS323-6)

DIAZ is a medium to large sized green oak suitable for year round production. DIAZ shows strong tolerance to bolting and tipburn in hydroponic systems. DIAZ has narrow lobes in the Kibrille style, making it an ideal alternative to Vizir (which has wider lobes) and is the ideal variety for processors looking for an inclusion in salad mixes. DIAZ shows strong tolerance to fungal rots, such as botrytis, in warm, wet conditions often a problem with oakleafs. DIAZ has a strong disease package with full mildew cover.

HAMPOLE is a little gem cos suited to hydroponic production of whole heads, in particular for the sleeving or bagging markets. The leaf of HAMPOLE has a slight blister and the heads are late to close providing strong tolerance to internal tipburn in the heat of Summer in addition to strong bolting tolerance. A versatile variety, HAMPOLE also has good cool season vigour as an Autumn or transitional variety but with the added benefit of full mildew cover and Nasonovia resistance. HAMPOLE will produce highly uniform heads under hydroponic production systems but is not recommended for outdoor production.

EZME represents a new lettuce style in the market and is an exciting addition to the SPS assortment that opens up a range of opportunities for salad growers. EZME is a medium sized, open, red cos in a rosette style. Ideally EZME is used in conjunction with the new, green buttercos Ezmari for a cos leaf salad mix but is also suitable as a stand-alone product for the whole head market. EZME has a thick but ultimately palatable leaf with an attractive shine and a slight savoy which provides bulk to salad mixes. EZME is suitable for year round production.

VARIETY FEATURES • Light green • Medium to large sized heads • Medium vigour AGRONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS • Suitable for field production and hydroponic systems • Strong tolerance to tipburn • Strong tolerance to bolting DISEASE RESISTANCES • High Resistance: Bl:1-32/Nr:0 • Intermediate Resistance: LMV:1

VARIETY FEATURES • Mid-green colour • Mini heads • Good vigour AGRONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS • Suitable for hydroponic production systems only

VARIETY FEATURES • Triple red colour • Medium heads • Medium vigour AGRONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS • Suitable for field production or hydroponic systems • Strong tolerance to tipburn • Strong tolerance to bolting

• Strong tolerance to tipburn


• Strong tolerance to bolting

High Resistance: Bl:1-35/Nr:0

DISEASE RESISTANCES • High Resistance: Bl:1-31/Nr:0 • Intermediate Resistance: LMV:1 | 07

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Sweet pepper


The cultivation and consumption of sweet peppers is increasing worldwide. Breeders are working hard to expand and improve the range of sweet peppers. “The market is expanding particularly outside the traditional cultivation centres in Europe,” says Wouter Lindeman, Crop Research Manager Pepper for glasshouse cultivation. “And different climate zones and cultivation systems place different demands on varieties.” A lot has changed since the modern, blocky peppers started gaining in popularity in the 1970s. Firstly in Europe, where – at the time – the sweet pepper was still an exclusive fruiting vegetable grown on a small scale, which developed into a standard product that is available in several colours on a daily basis.

QUALITY, RESILIENCE AND PRODUCTIVITY “Within Europe, Spain is the leading producer of sweet peppers during the winter months and the Netherlands during the summer months,” according to Lindeman. "The retail prices face constant pressure due to the ample supply. In order to achieve a good business result, growers need to keep their cost price down and work in a very customer-oriented manner. In addition to quality characteristics and resistance to diseases, another deciding factor in the choice of variety is the productivity.” Enza Zaden performs well in all colour segments thanks to – among other things – the Maranello red sweet pepper, the Gialte yellow sweet pepper and the orange variety Orbit. In the Netherlands, a number of companies even focus specifically on the harvesting of green (unripe) sweet peppers. With a combined acreage of about 180, they occupy a unique position. The Frazier variety distinguishes itself for this purpose due to its year-round stable fruit weight and very high production. It is therefore a market leader in this segment.

EMERGING MARKETS The mature European market is witnessing only limited growth in the acreage of protected sweet pepper cultivation. The cultivation is expanding rapidly in North America (including Mexico) and Asia. This growth takes place to some extent at the expense of the acreage of open cultivation, but the steadily increasing consumption shows that there is plenty of room for further expansion. Growing companies in North America and Korea are actively anticipating this. In addition to specialised sweet pepper growers, some tomato producers are also focusing on this crop, which offers them opportunities to diversify, spread risk and expand further. Russia, which has invested significantly in high-tech agricultural complexes for the cultivation of tomato and cucumber for several years now, could follow this example according to Lindeman. “Not in the near future, but I would not be surprised if the protected sweet pepper cultivation there starts to take off in about three to five years”.

systems or market wishes may differ from those in Europe. Now that the cultivation in such areas is expanding, we can also cross and select specifically for these regions. Our portfolio is expanding steadily." Whereas Gialte is the leading yellow variety in the Netherlands, the Canadian and Mexican growers prefer the slightly larger Eurix. Maranello has been the leading sweet pepper in the red segment in Western Europe for eight years, but in Mexico they prefer Ocelot and Triple 5. Finally, in the orange segment, Orbit is a variety that performs very well in both Canada and Mexico.

RESISTANCES Regardless of whether they are in existing or emerging markets, resistances against diseases and pests receive a lot of attention from the growers. “The geographic expansion of the cultivation is inextricably linked to an expansion in disease and pests patterns. This situation is amplified by the global pressure on chemical pest control. Therefore, crops need to develop a natural resistance to diseases and pests. Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and mildew are currently receiving the most attention. In addition, we are focusing on mechanisms that allow plants to defend themselves more effectively against insects. This is quite a challenge. However, we should not try to avoid this challenge, as insects play a key role in the transmission of viruses.”

The multi-coloured Enjoya pepper definitely gets the conversation started at the dinner table

DIVERSIFICATION OF PORTFOLIO Growers in the emerging regions often first use varieties that were developed for cultivation in Southern or Western Europe. “However, the climate conditions, cultivation 08 |

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OPPORTUNITY FOR DIFFERENTIATION In the wake of the developments in tomato cultivation, the sweet pepper growers are also looking at opportunities to distinguish themselves from the masses with distinctive products. These products do exist, although they are more limited than in the case of the tomato. “The mini-conicals have now established their position in the market. These snack peppers fit perfectly in the trend towards healthier snacks between meals. Our Tribellii® concept, which includes several colours, has been successfully introduced in Spain. This process is also going surprisingly well in Mexico. They grow this concept primarily for customers in Canada and the USA.” The demand for long conicals is also increasing. In addition to their distinctive shape, they also usually have a thinner fruit wall and a more intense, sweeter flavour than the standard sweet pepper. However, the production per square meter is a lot lower for both segments. With the introduction of the multi-coloured Enjoya several years ago, Enza Zaden proved that it is also possible to distinguish yourself within the blocky segment. The striking, red and yellow flamed fruit is a joy to behold and will definitely get the conversation started at the dinner table. “Such a beautiful product deserves exclusivity. It is currently only being cultivated by two companies: one in the Netherlands and one in North America, where the variety is sold under the name Aloha.”

SEEDLESS IS GAINING POPULARITY Breeders focus on the wishes of both growers and consumers. Seedless varieties respond to the demand for products that are easy to consume. The highest priority here goes to the snack segment. “You need to be able to eat a snack sweet pepper at any time and any place without any fuss. The placenta covered with seeds undermine this.” A second market segment where this development would be very useful is the pre-cut and pre-packaged salads and vegetable mixes. Seedless fruits can be processed more quickly and easily and rule out any risk of finding seeds in the final product.

ROOTSTOCKS Another development that has received serious attention in recent decades is the breeding and selection of rootstocks. According to Lindeman, the results of these efforts are slowly but surely becoming visible. “Rootstocks and grafted plants have been commonplace for years in tomato cultivation. In that crop, the grafted cultivation variety is able to convert the vigour of the rootstock into a higher production. This is more tricky in the case of sweet pepper. Ten years ago we developed a new programme that has shifted boundaries. The turning point has almost been reached. By this I mean that we have developed a number of specific, promising combinations of rootstock and cultivation variety that allow for a significant increase in yield. I expect that a number of innovative growing companies will be interested in gaining experience with these combinations over the coming years. This is also necessary, because both the propagation and cultivation of grafted plants is a finely tuned process. In sweet pepper cultivation, it is all about achieving the correct crop balance.”

Crafting sweet pepper seedlings on rootstock

Grower Richard van den Berg from Berg Peppers, the Netherlands.

SWEET PEPPER CULTIVATION IS GETTING READY FOR GRAFTED PLANTS Working with a specialised plant propagator, grower Richard van den Berg from Berg Peppers in the Netherlands has been closely involved for seven years in the development programme run by Enza Zaden for rootstocks and grafted sweet pepper plants.

RIGHT COMBINATION “I wanted to participate, even though I realised that there was no guarantee of success,” explains the renowned grower. “If you can find the right combination, then – in my opinion – grafted plants offer more guarantees for long-term crop vitality, less plant loss and increased fruit weight.” In order to monitor the screening programme closely, the grower allowed us to use a few thousand square metres of glasshouse. We performed the same tests there each year as we do in Enkhuizen, so that the results can be compared. Van den Berg is not afraid to implement large scale tests of combinations that appeared to be promising the previous year. A few years ago he even grew 20 ha of grafted plants of various varieties. “We now have 5.5 ha of grafted Gialte. That is not due to declining confidence, but due to changes in our product range.”

TIPPING POINT The grower thinks that it is too soon to make a structural shift towards grafted plants, although he has seen progress in the programme. “Enza Zaden performs thorough research and provides feedback about the results. That is why I want to remain involved in this development. We are approaching the point that is required to justify the higher costs of grafted plants. These costs are significant and you really need to produce more kilograms to justify the investment. I may need to look more specifically at the boundaries of cultivation, but I definitely will not take any major risks. Overall, this is a great learning process, which I can benefit from as soon as grafted plants really take off. You can bet that I will be ready to lead the way.” | 09

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MOJITO is an aromatic coriander suitable for sprouting and microgreen production. The distinct aroma and flavour characteristics make MOJITO a variety that is sought after by chefs as a garnish. MOJITO will also ‘lift’ mustard dominated mixes.

ELVIN is an organic broccoli suitable for sprouting and microgreen production. The sprouts of ELVIN grow very rapidly and are ready to be eaten in 5-6 days. Broccoli ELVIN sprouts have quite a strong and hot taste which can add zing to salads, hors d’oeurves, meat and fish courses and even to spice up sandwiches.

SANGRIA is a purple radish bred specifically for sprouting and microgreen production. SANGRIA is a pure seed line with very low numbers of off-types (green cotyledons) common in many alternative varieties. With a subtle flavour, SANGRIA will add colour and vibrancy to green dominated sprout and microgreen mixes.

VARIETY FEATURES • Mid green cotyledons • Mid green stems • Distinct coriander flavour

VARIETY FEATURES • Green cotyledons • White stems • Brassica flavour

VARIETY FEATURES • Dark purple cotyledons • Dark purple stems • Moderate radish flavour

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BIBBLE is a pink kohlrabi bred specifically for sprouting and microgreen production. The contrast between the stem and cotyledon colour of BIBBLE has eye appeal for sprout and microgreen mixes. With a subtle flavour BIBBLE is interesting as a stand-alone product also.

MARABELLA is a red cabbage bred specifically for sprouting and microgreen production. Very quick to produce cotyledons, MARABELLA will be ready for harvesting in 5-6 days from sowing. A standard variety for adding colour to sprout and microgreen mixes.

FIRA is a sprouting broccoli specifically bred for the microgreen market. This variety produces an attractive green leaf with a white stem which offers a strong spicy brassica flavour. Quick to emerge, this variety will be ready for harvest in 5-7 days.



• Mid green cotyledons

• Dark red cotyledons

• Bright pink stems

• Purple stems

• Mild mustard flavour

• Mustard like flavour

VARIETY FEATURES • Green cotyledons • White stems • Spicy flavour | 11

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Louise Millar and Sashi Cassidy Grower from NZ Gourmet Waiuku 12 |

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Louise Millar has worked for South Pacific Seeds for the past 12 years but has been involved in the horticulture industry her entire working career, she has seen many changes in the greenhouse industry in that time. Her role as National Greenhouse Sales & Product Manager involves working closely with growers, this has given her a unique insight into the different grower’s and their operations. The relationship Louise has built with her customers has formed the solid foundation for her continued success and respect amongst the greenhouse growing community. Louise’s work covers Capsicum, Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant and Tomato greenhouse crops and she is also involved with supporting the South Pacific Seeds greenhouse team in Australia.



Louise was born and raised in Dannevirke in Hawkes Bay, she grew up in the town. Two of her uncles were involved in the horticulture industry, one was an orchardist, growing apples and citrus, and the other working with process crops specialising in peas. Louise has fond memories sitting in the pea harvester during hot summer days helping her Uncle. After completing secondary school Louise decided to enrol at Massey University, and after two years study successfully gained a Diploma of Horticulture. Louise wanted to compliment her first diploma so she studied for a further two years and completed a Diploma of Business Studies, endorsed in Human Resources, also at Massey University. Soon after graduating, Louise was offered a position at Fruitfed Supplies in Tauranga. For the next three years she worked as a sales representative servicing the kiwifruit industry. In 1990, Louise asked for a one-year career break so she could embark on the great Kiwi OE. On her return to NZ, a role as Branch Manager was offered at Fruitfed. The job was situated in Kumeu. Louise worked at the branch for three years before being promoted to the position of Sales Manager for the Northern Region. During that time Louise met her future husband (Derek) at a triathlon event, they were married in 1997. In the year 2000, with her first son Joshua on the way, Louise decided she would become a stay at home mum. Her second son William was born in 2001.


Louise and Sashi checking on the progress of a new trial variety MAVERA

In 2004 Louise received a phone call from a recruitment agency asking her if she would be interested in a position at Webling and Stewart Seeds. This presented the perfect opportunity to re-enter the work force. Louise was employed as National Manager; the company had just been purchased by South Pacific Seeds along with Yates Vegetable Seeds. Over the next two years with two others, Louise was tasked with selling the remaining seed inventory. After two years the company was then dissolved and merged with South Pacific Seed Sales (NZ) Limited. Louise was then asked to transfer and was offered a role at SPS, and the rest as they say is history. Since 2007 she has been focused on the greenhouse industry. Louise has seen a huge amount of change in the industry and believes growers have become a lot more professional, she believes compliance, technology and new varieties have improved grower output. One thing she would like to see is more grower discussion groups and sharing of information. Annual trips are made to the Netherlands, and she believes it is extremely important to gain first hand knowledge of any new varieties that could be suited to NZ. Louise said the Enza Zaden breeders (who supply their greenhouse genetics to SPS) thoroughly understand NZ conditions and will only introduce new varieties they believe will potentially thrive in NZ Greenhouse growing conditions. When she visits Europe the trials are half way through the season, Louise believes this is an advantage as it already identifies new material which could be trialled in NZ. Louise has spent a great deal of time focusing on capsicums and after her recent visit to Europe believes that grafted capsicum plants will offer growers the real potential of higher returns. Seven percent increases in production have been achieved in Europe. Improved fruit size and root health are the main reasons behind the increase in production. The other ‘huge’ positive is the reduction of root treatments.

Campari tomatoes grown in NZ with LED supplementary lighting

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It is these advances in technology, cultivation and genetics that keeps Louise challenged in her role with South Pacific Seeds and continues her interest in building partnerships with the greenhouse growers of New Zealand. Article by Stefan Vogrincic GROWER2GROWER.CO.NZ | 13

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6 WAYS SPREADSHEETS COULD BE HURTING YOUR BUSINESS It never fails to amaze me how many businesses are reliant on spreadsheets to run their operations. Spreadsheets are great, flexible and certainly have a place in the world for doing the things spreadsheets are good at doing - like formatting charts and graphs, ad-hoc analysis, and creating simple models but using them for things they are not intended for could be damaging. Spreadsheets fall short in the following areas: Reporting: Sorting through multiple spreadsheets and countless numbers and transactions to compile the data can be confusing and very, very time consuming. To run a business successfully you need to have full control of your data.

Accuracy: Spreadsheets do not standardise processes across the business, so everyone does their own thing in their own way. This means that the data is inaccurate, out of date and not uniform with other data in other spreadsheets.

Accessibility: Different people need access to reports and data at any given moment. Having quick, easy access to data is the only way to keep the business running smoothly. If that data is in disparate spreadsheets in different places, this can be disruptive to processes and ultimately cost money.

Productivity: How much time do the people using these spreadsheets spend tracking and fixing issues? A study recently showed that regular ‘spreadsheet’ users were spending up to 18 hours per month doing just that. That’s 18 hours per month spent doing non-productive activity.

Security & data integrity: Where are these companies keeping their spreadsheets? On a server? On someone’s laptop? What if you lose the spreadsheet and don’t have a back-up system in place? And how do you know you are updating the latest version of the spreadsheet? Which version of the spreadsheet do you look in to get a single version of the truth?

Regulatory requirements: Companies are audited regularly to ensure that they are recording the information adequately. If the spreadsheets cannot be relied on for accuracy, this is a major risk and should be of huge concern to a business.

The only real way to have accurate and reliable data for reporting and running efficient processes in a business is to invest in a centralised and integrated system. An integrated system enables you to free people from the drudgery of wrestling with spreadsheets and allow them to focus on the important and productive things that would help to grow the business profitably. VINCENT VENEZIALE CULTURA SEED SOLUTIONS, SEED SOLUTIONS PRODUCT MANAGER Sourced from

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INCREASING CONSUMPTION Recently, our industry has been abuzz reporting on the outcomes of the English study showcasing the lifesaving benefits of eating fruits and vegetables ( Published 1 April in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, by researchers from the University College London (UCL), the study showed that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating zero portions. That is a pretty powerful cause and effect outcome. As a consumer, I know one of the frustrations I have with health research when reported in topical publications like women’s or health magazines, is it always seems a bit flippant. “Studies show eating seven lemons a day makes you happier…” – yes, but who can really fathom eating seven lemons a day? But with this recent study, there is a much more defined cause and effect link. So that’s good news, right? Perhaps, but let me take a contrarian approach. If changing your life or health outcome by doing things that were good for you was easy, then there would be no obesity, no smoking and no sedentary lifestyles. Entire industries catering for quick fix pills and supplements and no-pain diets would simply disappear overnight because there would no longer be a need. But that doesn’t happen. We can read about how eating seven produce serves a day can make you live longer, but the reality is doing it is harder than we think. Think back to what you ate yesterday…how many

By Lisa Cork

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The good and the bad news

serves did you eat? I had a bad produce day yesterday, with only one produce item crossing my lips. The psychology of eating is complex. While the science might be there to support eating more fruit and vegetables, the reality of doing so is difficult. Perhaps it is time to approach it differently. What if the reason people don’t eat more fruit and veg is because they don’t feel it is truly marketed to their needs? What if the average punter felt buying and cooking a head of broccoli was harder than cooking a roast? What if a canned fruit buyer felt over-awed by having a choice of 15 apple varieties, so de termined it was easier to buy canned or processed fruit? I ask these questions because as you know, my passion is produce packaging and how we communicate with consumers on pack. But packaging is more than just the on-pack communication. More and more, to help companies, I have to start broader and bigger – I have to look at their whole branding and product and category strategy – in order to find the untapped opportunity. It is only when I start with the big picture that opportunities for doing things differently or marketing/ branding their products differently start to come to life. Recently, I did a case study on Tenderstem broccoli in the UK. I wanted to see how the product was marketed by the different UK multiples and if any retailer was doing anything inventive or unique. They weren’t. Even though this is a great product with a great story, most of

the on-pack communication was pretty perfunctory. Yes, some talked about taste and sweetness. Some talked about tenderness. But no one really seemed to dig in deep and ‘sell’ shoppers on the beauty of this product. Yet when I went to the Tenderstem website, it was loaded with descriptive terms and phrases and unique angles that if they had been brought to life on pack, might have prompted more purchases.

So here is your test for this month. Grab one of your packaged products and put it on your desk. Now, grab the point of sale that goes with the product or print out the home page / Facebook page associated with the product and see – how much crossover is there? Is your packaging and on-pack communications incorporating the message from your POS and marketing? Yes? No? If not, why not? Produce companies and marketers put a lot of effort into creating POS to drive consumer interest and purchasing. Yet they don’t put the same work into their packaging or on-pack communications. If you want to see better results, merge the two worlds together and bring your POS to life on pack. Yes, health news can help us drive consumption. But effective packaging and on-pack communication can also help too. This column first appeared in FreshFruitPortal, 2014. | 15

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A CHANCE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND Plenty of New Zealand employers think the law is too “employee-friendly”. They cite cases where employees were surely at fault, but came away with big awards because the employer stuffed up the dismissal process. “How can that be fair?,” they wonder. They go on to assume that it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. Process is all that matters in employment law. So they end up going through the motions of a “fair process” whenever they deal with their staff. But really they made up their mind from the start and nothing was going to persuade them otherwise. I understand why employers feel this way sometimes. But I think its a real problem. Let me explain.

FAIR PROCESS LEADS TO FAIR CONCLUSIONS A fair process to dismiss is fundamental to getting to the right conclusion. Its not about just going through the motions. If you genuinely work at getting the process right, in 95% of cases the fairest outcome will become clear to you. You’ll avoid personal grievances because you’ll be satisfying your obligation to act as a fair and reasonable employer. Why is that? Well, it has to do with what the essence of fair procedure is all about.

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FAIR PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL If I was to sum up the essence of fair process I think it is:

Give your employee a chance to change your mind. All of the basic requirements of fair process flow out of that. Think about it. If you were to truly give your employees that opportunity to change your mind you would: •

Give them all the material you are relying on to make your allegations or to base your proposal, so they are up to speed with what you know about the matter

Give them some time to think about what they will say to try and change your mind

Allow them the opportunity to get some outside help, especially when meeting with you, so they don’t feel unnecessarily intimidated by challenging your views when they meet with you

Listen carefully to what they have to say when they are given the chance to present their views

Thoughtfully consider whether anything they have told you has convinced you to change your mind.

And there you have it. The fundamental features of a fair process. All because you decided to be open to being persuaded that there was another way to look at the issue. And if you are open to doing that, you’ll find that in some cases you may be persuaded to actually change your mind. And you’ll arrive at an outcome that you may never have arrived at had you not adopted a fair process.

NOT SO OBVIOUS AFTER ALL In the late 1960s a learned UK Judge wrote the following, which sums up the point I’m trying to make with a great deal more flair:

“It may be that there are some who would decry the importance of the rules of natural justice. “When something is obvious,” they may say, “why force everybody to go through the tiresome waste of time involved in framing charges and given an opportunity to be heard? The result is obvious from the start.” Those who take this view do not, I think, do themselves justice. As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change.”

CONCLUSION It takes a degree of humility to be prepared to let someone else persuade you to change your mind. But that is what employers are asked to do every time they consider issuing an employee with a warning, suspending an employee or, gravest of all, terminating an employee’s employment. Those employers who can adopt this mindset are the ones who rarely face personal grievances. They’re freed up to focus on their business without the stress and strain of litigation. The benefits of taking this approach are clear – not only is it what the law requires, but it’s actually good for business. Are you prepared give your employees a chance to change your mind?


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