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+ Meet our newest life members + Managing pathogen resistance in summerfruit + Reviewing a year of change

The Magazine of Summerfruit New Zealand

Quality, Expertise, Innovation McGrath Nurseries Limited is proudly celebrating 38 years of being part of the New Zealand summerfruit industry. We are passionate about growing excellent trees and leading positive change.

Our variety successes include:







We show our commitment to the industry through: • Excellent quality trees • Importing, testing and developing new varieties • Intellectual Property Management • Support of industry research • Individual advice to growers and technology transfer


In the regions


Our people



September blossom in Central Otago. Photo by Marie Dawkins.

Reviewing a year of change



Tim Jones

Peter and Jeffery Turner

From the chairman

Our people



Summerfruit NZ

Georgina Griffiths

News & events


From the chief executive Marie Dawkins



Managing pathogen resistance


Chris Hale

Gary Bennetts

Regional round up

Meet the team



Monte Neal, Roger Brownlie, Trish Rowe and Earnscy Weaver

Market access update Stephen Ogden

Summerfruit is the official magazine of Summerfruit New Zealand and is published three times a year. Published by Summerfruit New Zealand ISSN 1178-2897 Contact details PO Box 25255 Wellington 6146 Phone: 04 830 0935 Advertising sales Julianne Orr Phone: 021 0299 1533 Email: Design by Blue Storm Design Printed by Garratt Print



NEW HORIZONS I don’t think there are too many fruit growers in Central Otago complaining about the spring – very few frosts, great pollinating weather, good fruit-set – we are set up well for a successful season ahead. I only hope the other growing regions have fared as well so far. With such a balmy start to the growing season in Central, we are all wondering what Mother Nature has in store for us… Hopefully just more of the same!

flexibility this system gives us to add on new systems and technology as they are developed. The levy amendment consultation and voting took place over the winter and spring, and as I write this, we don’t know the outcome of the vote. But as this issue is really an administrative and wording tidyup I expect the result will be to amend the levy and all that is required now is for Cabinet to approve the amendment. Also at the time of writing we don’t have a confirmed government! Watch this space. The PGP application is well underway. Chris Hale, Earnscy Weaver and Marie have been instrumental in writing the application for what looks to be an exciting project that will provide the building blocks to transform our industry. ‘Pick, Pack, Fly, Eat’ is the project title and it can be summarised as follows:

Summerfruit NZ has been busy working on some major projects over recent months. Signing up to GIA was a milestone for the industry and having a seat around the table on all matters relating to biosecurity will be a great asset for all growers. You will have Asian consumers love fresh fruit. New Zealand summerfruit seen that we are in the process of recruiting a Biosecurity & Export represents health and sunshine during a Northern Hemisphere Programme Manager and we hope to have someone appointed to this winter and consumers will pay for this. Summerfruit NZ’s position before the season begins. The role of Biosecurity & Export strategy is to get unrelenting and unquestioned quality fruit Programme Manager will be to manage the significant biosecurity direct from the tree to the consumer in 48 hours. This is hard requirements of our industry, provide oversight of industry specific because summerfruit are difficult to produce with consistent food safety issues, and work closely with external technical providers quality, and fragile to transport. Overcoming these challenges in to support the delivery of export activities. We are also in the process a sustainable way could lead to a fourfold increase to the value of recruiting for the position of NZ Market Support as replacement of the industry. for Trisha Aitken. This role will deliver the NZ Market strategy; secure sponsorship for Summerfruit NZ events; and support the delivery of Details of how we see the programme developing and the projects national activities of Summerfruit NZ. that will be part of the PGP, will be shared as we move through the application process. The Summerfruit NZ IT upgrade is also progressing at a fast


pace and you have hopefully all had a good look through the new website and secure portal. The export registration process was completed using the portal and was a much speedier process for all. My congratulations to the SNZ team and service providers; Montage and Business Cycles, for developing and implementing such a robust but simple to operate system. We look forward to the


Please remember to contact your local SNZ Board members, or the team in Wellington, with any issues. We are all only a call or email away and contact details are on the SNZ website. Best of luck for the fast approaching season.






Sadly, this is Monte’s final article for the magazine after many years of contributing. His Auckland regional round ups have been a great source of information on the joys and perils of growing fruit ‘up North’ and bang on the doorstep of our largest city. Thanks for writing for us Monte and all the best for your future endeavours.

It seems that Gary Bennetts has been on the Board for years, but what do we really know about him apart from his love of cycling in exotic lands, and A&E departments? Our former chairman tells us his story in our ‘Meet the team’ feature.

Oh no, another one of our regular writers is bowing out in this issue. It has been a pleasure to have you on board Trish. Our thanks for keeping us informed on the Marlborough region and we wish you well for your semi-retirement from the industry.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths’ regular feature confirms that we’ve had a lot of rainfall this year. But what weather is she forecasting for the rest of 2017?



1 2018 Conference heading to Napier Next year our annual conference is being held in Hawkes Bay on 30-31 May. We’ve booked the newly redeveloped and refurbished Napier Conference Centre – it has great space to hold our ever-expanding conference in a very convenient and central location. Our tradition of having networking drinks in unique and interesting places continues with the National Aquarium as next year’s venue. A diverse range of aquatic species will swim by observing us enjoy drinks and nibbles, ensuring that this stunning setting will be a conference highlight. Mission Estate Winery’s elegantly restored historic seminary building provides the striking location for the award-winning Mission Restaurant and our conference dinner. Expect exquisite cuisine that showcases Hawkes Bay’s finest produce as we celebrate our industry success and enjoy a final night together. MG Marketing will be our Platinum sponsor once more and there will be a range of sponsorship opportunities on our website in the near future. As more information becomes available it will be announced in Prunings newsletter and uploaded to the website.



Regional round up changes

We say fond farewells to two regular contributors to our regional round up section. Both Monte Neal and Trish Rowe are moving on to new challenges and we wish them well and say thanks for keeping us informed on their regions. Next year we are retiring the Auckland region and will be hearing from a selection of ‘guest’ regional round up writers from all over. If you produce beautiful summerfruit in an off-the beat-location, we’d love to hear from you and find out what you’re up to. Send Victoria an email at to have a chat about contributing next year.


Fruit Logistica Berlin, Germany, 7-9 February 2018 Chinese New Year 16 February 2018



Fresh Produce India Mumbai, India, 26-27 April 2018

Growing degree day accumulation (daily average, base10°C) - Roxburgh East, Central Otago

Climate summary graphs It’s great to let you know that the climate summary graphs have been loaded on to the secure portal. Six locations can be found under Main Menu/Climate summary (Bay View, Clyde/Alexandra, Cromwell, Longlands Road, Roxburgh East, Twyford), along with the guide on how Richardson chill units and Growing degree days are calculated. Not only does this information help growers calculate if their trees have received enough chilling over winter, it also provides a guide to crop growth, development and maturity. Our thanks to HortPlus for providing the graphs.



REVIEWING A YEAR OF CHANGE Well our chairman has stolen all my thunder by discussing some of the key activities that we have been working on over the last few months: - new website and portal - Levy Order amendment - signing the GIA Deed and Fruit Fly Operational Agreement - taking on new staff. So, what does that leave me to talk about...?

The first amendment I’m pleased to confirm that our recent ballot came out strongly in favour of amending the commodity levy. Thirty one percent of eligible growers voted, with all but one of them, voting in favour of the amendment. You’ll remember that a review of the levy collection process and the Summerfruit Commodity Levy Order (2014) picked up an issue around the correct deduction of levy on exports. This meant that levy should be deducted differently on export fruit, which in our view was inequitable. Following discussions with growers at the AGM earlier this year, it was agreed that the Levy Order wording should be amended to align grower and industry practice with the legislation. The outcome of the vote supports that decision at the AGM. As a result of the ballot outcome we will now apply to the Minister to amend the levy. In reality you should not notice any difference to the levy you pay this season, as the amendment reflects how exporters have always collected the levy. We do have a timeframe issue though, as the amendment is unlikely to get through the Ministerial process before fruit is being sold this season. However, given the strong grower support for the amendment, we have sought MPI acceptance for the levy to be collected in line with this amendment. You will receive a letter from us confirming that in the near future. Just a note on this amendment – no one has ever sought to amend a levy order before so this is the first time that it has been done. I’m not sure that I’m happy to have been the trailblazer. Vote

Head count







% Head count


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The voting return percentage was 31.14%, being 71 votes received from the 228 eligible Summerfruit NZ growers.



Biosecurity I’m really pleased to advise that our application to sign the GIA Deed was accepted and confirmed by the Minister (Guy) on 24 August. The Deed was signed on 18 September by our Chairman Tim Jones and Tjeerd Smilde, the Summerfruit NZ Director for Biosecurity. An application to become a party to the Fruit Fly Operational Agreement, and therefore on the Fruit Fly Council, was accepted on 28 September. A Deed signing ceremony was planned, however, the then Minister cancelled at the last minute, which was frustrating. While it might seem a minor issue, from my perspective the signing ceremony was the culmination of a lot of work. That said, it’s great to have got this huge piece of work behind us. It will be even better once the new Biosecurity & Export Programme Manager is appointed and we can start working on industry specific activities. The development of a summerfruit biosecurity strategy, will start in the new year. You’ll be aware that we now have a new Minister of Biosecurity. Under the previous government Nathan Guy was both Minister for Primary Industries and Biosecurity. The new government has followed previous new governments and are once again remodeling MPI, breaking it up into the smaller parts Forestry, Fisheries and Agriculture. It’s hard to say just yet whether this is a good or bad move. Damien O’Connor has been appointed the Minister of Biosecurity and Agriculture. We are in a queue with many other sectors waiting to meet with him. I just hope that he remembers that the ‘Agriculture’ includes horticulture. There has been a tendency for some Minsters to only focus on the animal part of the portfolio and become the Minister for Cows.

It’s official and here’s the proof – Marie with the GIA Deed


Revisiting Nielsen reports As we enter the new season, it’s worth revisiting the outcomes from our Nielsen surveys conducted regularly since 2010. The project that we have conducted over the last four years has focused on improving fruit quality, in particular reducing the incidence of unripe fruit being sold. Are we making progress? Mmmm … yes, maybe. In some areas the fruit has definitely improved, however unripe fruit still ranks as the number one consumer complaint, with a consistent 35-39% of shoppers reporting unripe fruit in every Nielsen survey we’ve conducted. Quite aside from the negative impacts on consumers, the lost potential income for growers is considerable.

Key points that emerge across the surveys.

The negatives

– which we already know

1 The impact of immature fruit spoiled the consumer

experience and reduced repeat purchasing. 2 Unripe is defined by consumers as hard, tasteless

and inedible. 3 Early season fruit must provide a positive consumer

experience or you risk loss of shoppers and revenue due to unripe fruit sales. 4 One in ten buyers of unripe fruit did not buy again

that season. 5 Others did not re-purchase for another 4-6 weeks. 6 Peaches and nectarines had the highest incidence

of unripe sales. 7 There is an estimated loss of at least 18,000

households each year who did not re-purchase due to unripe fruit sales.

The positives 1 Fruit quality is the key driver of consumer

purchases. 2 Full of flavour remains the top quality measure. 3 There is an opportunity to gain a 16% increase in

repeat purchases by shoppers who bought only once in the season, by addressing fruit maturity. 4 An additional $220k could be achieved if 10%

more shoppers repeat purchased once prior to Christmas. 5 Delivering and communicating early season fruit

quality is key to capitalise on the potential of preChristmas consumers. 6 Fruit firmness, blemish free fruit and

communicating localness are important quality indicators after flavour. 7 Packaging needs to enable consumers to establish

firmness and have visible fruit to assess quality and to encourage purchase. 8 Communicate local production to maintain

engagement and quality associations with core demographic. The Nielsen reports can be found on the portal under Main Menu/Publications. Take a look – it’s worth refreshing your memory.



Split stones An issue with split stones in nectarines came up last season. While split stones in themselves are a quality issue, it’s the associated problems of insects – earwigs in particular, moving into the stones that is of real concern. Looking into the cause of split stones Roger Brownlie, our Director on the NZ Market team, located the following excerpt from an old publication, which is thought of as a bible amongst growers. Approximately 60 days after bloom the end begins to harden, depending on weather conditions. It is generally during this time that split stone where the endocarp splits open can occur under conditions favoring excessive vegetative growth but the problem is still worse under excessive fertilisation or early over thinning. Cutting back on irrigation during the time may help to reduce split stone. Split pits seem to be more prevalent in the top of the tree and ripen slightly ahead of fruit in the rest of the tree. Split stone does happen to some degree every year, however the 2016-17 season seemed to be particularly bad. Either that, or our consumers are more willing to complain if they find fruit containing earwigs. Roger said that because these top-tree fruits were often the first to be harvested, this meant retailers would

see split stone in the expensive early season fruit. The fruit itself may eat well, but insects in the fruit are totally unacceptable to consumers. We are aware that supermarkets received a number of complaints last year and marketers confirm that if they get a line in the DC and earwigs or other such insects are found, the line will be rejected. So, going into this season growers need to be conscious of on-orchard practices and management at packhouses is particularly important.

LET’S WORK TOGETHER At MG Marketing our relationship with the growers we work with is one of partnership, with the overriding objective being to make your growing enterprise an outstanding and sustainable success, regardless the size of your business. You focus on what you do best – growing quality produce and we MG Marketing provide a proven, constructive, profitable link between our many produce growers, retail and food service clients.

Such a partnership secures you a healthy income and value for your efforts. MG’s highly experienced procurement team maintains close and regular contact with you as a Summerfruit supplier, offering tailored practical advice and support.

They also undertake a multitude of related tasks, to ensure growers benefit from efficiency improvements and market feedback. These may include, for example, on-line receipting systems, general administrative support, business reviews, transport and packaging options and quality control measures. If you would like to know more about any of these areas, please contact our procurement team.

MG Procurement Team

Richard Cameron 021 227 5932

National Cherries

Roger Georgieff 021 229 6398

South Island Summerfruit

Rob Hollier

021 482 568

North Island Summerfruit


Black boy peaches According to McGrath Nurseries’ website, Blackboy is a collective name for around six varieties of red-fleshed peaches, which were imported predominantly from France in the early 20th century. The concerns about the naming of Black boy peaches surfaced last year. I was surprised it took so long given today’s sensitivities, though I’ve never heard the name used derogatively. But attention is certainly starting to be focused on this peach for the wrong reasons.

However great this fruit might be (and believe me, it is), there’s no getting away from the fact that its name is seriously off, and harks back to an earlier, and alarmingly bigoted, age. Even more cringingly, the fruit does not exist under that name anywhere else in the world; in fact it barely exists anywhere else, full stop.

Black and Purple Seriously, ‘blackboy’ peaches (Nutrition, October 28)? Let’s say purple peaches. A Neale (Nelson) | Listener, 11 November 2017

It’s a popular peach and many people have an affection for it. It’s also reasonably popular in home gardens. When we raised the issue last summer we certainly got negative feedback from some growers tired of the political correctness. And I will no doubt get more emails from those growers on this issue. And yes, maybe this is just a politically correct storm in a teacup. Maybe. But unfortunately, there are enough consumers who do see this as a negative name and are offended by it. And they are our consumers. And they have ready access to social media. And they do not hesitate to vent their annoyance or anger. So there is a real risk that the variety will be rejected by many consumers, not for the flavour, but because they object to the name. If it isn’t already happening then I suspect supermarkets will refuse to use the name. Which means it will either get listed as purple peach or will be given some other name. So rather than pushing this battle uphill, maybe it is time to rename this peach.



The coming season As always, the crop is looking very good right now – fresh with the colours of spring and rain. Young fruit is expanding at the startling rate where you can almost see them growing; colouring up by the day. And there is an excitement around seeing the fruit starting to arrive in the markets. It’s such a positive time of year. Talking with growers; they are full of the optimism of a new season. All the best for the season – may the weather gods deliver on that optimism.

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FULL CYCLE Tell us a bit about yourself Gary and your background? Born in Roxburgh, I left school at the end of 1970 when I was 16. I’d been told that if I could pass my school certificate I wouldn’t have to go back, and I didn’t very much enjoy school for whatever reason, so with five subjects in the bag I was gone. Prior to that, I’d been working all school holidays on Teviot Orchard – our family orchard in the Teviot Valley. We didn’t generally have holidays as any school holidays we’d be working on the orchard. Though having said that, maybe in the winter holidays, the family would go away for a short trip somewhere. My three sisters Glenis, Diane and Vicki were also summoned to work on the orchard during the holidays and after school in the harvest season. Their work was mainly in the packing shed where my grandfather could keep an eye on them, and to be honest, they needed it. These days Vicki has been working and helping at the new packhouse in the summertime. When frost fighting these days, we mainly use overhead sprinklers and more recently wind machines as well. This is a big change from the ‘frost pots’ we used pre-1975, when overhead sprinklers were installed. I recall on the night of the local School Flower Show in 1968 when I was about 14, we were called home at 9pm to light fire pots as we were about to suffer severe frost. Because we had started so early we had to keep filling the pots all through the night. When the sun rose in the morning, it was just a red glare shining through the thick black smog that had covered the entire valley. Back then the orchard was cultivated, not in grass, so you can imagine walking on rows of dirt and being damp and having sticky dirt clogged to your boots. It was the same pruning back then too. We’d prune on ladders, climbing up and down, on cultivated ground in winter carting mud up and down the ladders, so you’d be dirty and dusty by the time smoko came around. Growing up I was keen to join the Air Force and be a pilot – my grandfather had been a pilot in the First World War and my father had been on Lancaster bombers in the Second World War. But when I left school I had been helping my father out, who at the time was on his second hip replacement (initially caused by a horse riding accident), and I pretty much settled into orchard life after that.



Get to know former chairman Gary Bennetts in our series on the Summerfruit NZ team Malcolm Evans’ caricature of Gary

Three years after leaving school, Derek Conway, a local MAF officer, was visiting and suggested I should further my education, which sounded like a good idea to me. I left home to study for a Diploma in Horticulture Orchard Management at Massey University in 1974. The course consisted of 37 hours of lectures per week, around five hours of which was practical study in the workshop or on the Massey Orchard, so it was pretty full on. I remember my weekly hostel cost at City Court was $16.25 which included a breakfast and an evening meal. While at Massey, I played rugby for the under 21 team. I really enjoyed it as it was the first time I’d played with a whole lot of young guys who were all keen to get into sports and so the standard of rugby rose a bit from what I had been used to. I did reasonably well there and played for the top under 21 team and was drafted into the University’s B team for a couple of games too. I came back to the orchard and life was pretty much harvest all summer until May. I played rugby through winter March until August and then I’d be straight into frost fighting before the season started again. So, I was fairly restricted to get time away from the Valley or to myself really.

However, in 1981 I married Teresa and we took over the orchard and bought it off my parents. At the time we took over, the orchard was largely growing apricots for processing and the local market, as well as cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, apples, and pears. There were about 50 acres in trees and 450 acres in farmland. Now there are 100 acres in trees and 900 acres of farming sheep and cattle. In 1990 we (jointly with my cousin and neighbour) built a packhouse/coolstore, and along with planting more favourable varieties, we turned our focus to exporting. While I’d always been involved in the local Fruitgrowers’ Association, it was at that time I became more seriously involved in the politics in fruit growing. Over the years I became more active in the Association and taking part in the pipfruit and summerfruit meetings and conferences. I was also involved with the Otago Advisory Committee and was (and probably still am) chairman of the Apricot Processing Committee.

What is your role on the Summerfruit NZ Board and what does it involve? Some years ago, I became involved in Summerfruit NZ, eventually joining the Board and serving as chairman from 2008 to 2016. I stepped down as it was a good time to change with a new business plan and strategy being formed around a new PGP bid. We have an excellent and well-functioning Board, and as chair, I was really just the figurehead of a fantastic team. My role on the Board now is around the NZ Market and Export teams. I am also involved in the Communications portfolio.

What do you like about working in this industry? Mostly what the Board does is provide resources and services to our growers, but I like that our growers are able to work together front footing compliance – or any other mandatory or market access issues, that arise in our day to day businesses.

What contribution to the industry are you most pleased with? I think our breeding programme, which hasn’t been fully realised yet, is going to be a fantastic legacy in the future for all parties involved. We (SNZ & PFR) have bred apricot, nectarine, and plum varieties that are specific to New Zealand conditions, and have long-term quality and the eating taste that consumers look for. It’s been great being able to support the programme.

What changes would you like to see in the summerfruit industry? Thinking about the early days of Summerfruit NZ and how far we’ve come with all the different regions now working together, there isn’t much that I’d like to see change. But always working in the back of my mind is that one day in the future we may have enough critical mass that we could think about lowering the levy. I’m mindful of the organisation not getting top heavy and to just perform the industry functions that are relevant to growing, and to the benefit and betterment of growers.

When you’re not working, what do you get up to? Since 2002, whenever I have my holiday in June or July, I’ve been going away on different cycle journeys in Asia. Now I’ve already ridden from Singapore to Beijing and various other bits and pieces. I’ve ended up linking all my rides together and just completed 16,107kms in total to be precise. I did have a couple of years off in 2013-14 as I was crook, but I’m back on the pedals now. And I don’t ride too much during the season as I just don’t seem to get time. I sort of go and have a cold-start and jump in at the deep end if you like, when I start a bicycle ride on the holidays. The other thing that I like is when we can get to our bach by the sea. Of course, I can never get there often enough, but I really enjoy fishing in the ocean. With five children; Treena, Carly, Elyse, Cole, and Breiana, and eight grandchildren, I’m looking forward to spending more time with them once time frees itself – if it ever does.

Gary meeting with John Key in 2010




NEW DOORS As one door closes, another opens

Just as the door closed on our exports of summerfruit to Russia, we have confirmed that peaches and nectarines are able to be exported to Taiwan. Russia and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) have brought in new requirements that summerfruit is grown in places or production sites free from Brown Rot (Monilinia fructicola). Summerfruit NZ has made submissions to MPI that alternative measures could also manage the risk, and these are still being considered by the EEC. However, in the meantime, MPI is not able to certify summerfruit as coming from Brown Rot-free areas.

We have recently asked MPI to clarify the status of peaches and nectarines to Taiwan. These were not listed in the ICPR for Taiwan, but there was no apparent prohibition. After some discussion, MPI have confirmed that the full range of summerfruit has access to Taiwan, and the ICPR has been updated. Summerfruit NZ has also provided a data package to MPI to support access for summerfruit into Myanmar. This is a situation where it is better to keep the door open for future opportunities – even if the current market opportunity is small. Our aim is to keep as many markets open as possible, maximising the export opportunity.

OPI – another DAWR closing? As most of you will be aware, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR, pronounced DOOR) is phasing out the Offshore Pre-shipment Inspection (OPI) programme. Summerfruit has been part of this programme for around 25 years and it has been an incredibly valuable means of ensuring there is a consistent and timely supply chain. The programme also ensures that pests are not detected on arrival in Australia, which would result in methyl bromide fumigation and fruit damage. The good news is that summerfruit will not be affected during the 2017-18 season as an OPI officer will be allocated to Central Otago. And possibly there won’t be any impact next year either. However, we have been advised that OPI inspector numbers for all New Zealand will reduce to around eight in the 2018-19 season, down from 23 last summer. So, it is important to plan for when OPI is no longer available. There are three main parts to continuing the smooth entry and clearance of summerfruit into Australia, and Summerfruit NZ is working on plans for all these: • ensuring the fruit is as pest free as possible • rapid clearance at the border (in Australia) • contingencies should ‘pests’ be found.

Clean fruit We know it isn’t possible to have fruit that is completely free of all organisms that live in your orchards. The aim is to ensure that pest levels are below the level of detection, which is one infested fruit in a 600 unit sample (or the number needed to be 95% confident that no more than 0.5% of fruit have quarantine pests). If the actual



level of pests in your orchard is close to the level of detection, the chance of a lot failing inspection increases by chance alone (the sampling only aims for 95% confidence – so the result of one in 20 inspections can be wrong). One way of improving the confidence in your packhouse inspections is to look at more than the minimum 600 fruit. If you inspect 1,000 fruit per lot you can be 99% confident that actual pest level is below the tolerance.

If pests are found during on-arrival inspection, it is also important that they can be identified quickly. Summerfruit NZ has suggested that the Remote Microscopy Diagnostics system, which is successfully used in the current OPI programme, be made available to pest identifiers in Australia. We are also working with the Australian Horticulture Exporters and Importers Association to promote its use in Australia.

The recommended pest control programmes and monitoring go a long way towards ensuring freedom from target pests. Summerfruit NZ has also done a lot of work on Vapormate®, a fumigant that uses the compound ethyl formate. Ethyl formate is ‘generally regarded as safe’ by regulators; leaving no residues. It is very effective on thrips and around 60% effective on mites. More work is being done to improve efficacy on mites. It is a good general cleanup treatment and recommended for use in the OPI programme.

As we know not all ‘things’ found on summerfruit can be identified and if they can’t be identified they are classed as pests. These can include immature life-stages or hard to identify organisms. We are putting together information on some groups of ‘pests’, such as Tydeid mites, where common-sense decisions can be made. The only Tydeids found on apricots are non-quarantine, so if a Tydeid is found, but can’t be identified to species level, surely it can be classed as non-quarantine?

Rapid clearance


Once OPI ends it is important that fruit is able to enter Australia with the minimum of delays. Australia is currently developing a programme called a Compliance Based Inspection System (or CBIS) which gives credit to importers for having compliant shipments and rewards them with a reduced frequency of inspection. The aim is to use inspection resources on ‘risky’ or non-compliant pathways. Summerfruit NZ is closely watching the trial with US fruit and New Zealand avocados this season to better understand the benefits and risks of the programme. A key to remember though is that CBIS isn’t a means of dodging the inspector – it is just a way of speeding up entry.

A big risk for summerfruit is fruit failing on-arrival inspection and being ordered for treatment, reshipment, or destruction. Apricots don’t respond well to methyl bromide fumigation, currently the only treatment option available. So what can be done with this fruit? It can be shipped to another market or back to New Zealand, but at high cost. Options that we are investigating are other treatments such as ethyl formate or irradiation.

Something that has become evident is that Australia does not have enough Quarantine Approved Premises, the places where fruit is held and inspected. These are privately owned and are similar to our Transitional Facilities. Several more facilities are going through the process of being registered, but space and access to inspectors may still be short. Summerfruit NZ is working to understand the bottlenecks in the system to ensure that problems are resolved over the next couple of years.

Summerfruit NZ is taking the phase out of OPI very seriously and is planning several initiatives to make workable the alternatives to OPI, or to delay the phase out of OPI until alternatives are available.

A final note for the coming season This coming season it is likely that the OPI inspector will have a focus on weed seeds, segregation of consignments (OPI vs non-OPI), and documentation. Earlier in the OPI season other industries have had several failures due to these causes. Summerfruit has an excellent history of implementing the OPI programme and complying with programme requirements. If we can keep things that way in the coming season, it will help our case for negotiating a transition away from OPI to an equally effective system for import clearances.




MAKING A HEALTHY DIFFERENCE Remembering back, they say ‘it was very special growing up next door to our grandparents and in time, driving our grandfather to and from work, listening to stories of the rich heritage the family has in produce’. They laugh that they ‘haven’t travelled very far’ when compared with great grandparents, Edward and Maude Turner, who following some 250 years of inter-generational family involvement in produce and flowers in England, immigrated to New Zealand in 1885. Edward and Maude owned fruit shops and an orchard before starting in wholesale in the mid-1890s, with their nine sons working in the industry – most of them for all their working lives. Peter Turner

Jeffery Turner

Summerfruit NZ’s latest life members, Peter and Jeffery Turner, show no signs of slowing down after many years working in the fresh produce sector. They say ‘if it’s retirement you’re asking about, that word isn’t in our vocabulary’. We ask what it was like growing up and working in a family business that goes back so many generations and why they still love working in the sector.

Edward Turner’s Original Market (around 1915)

Close to home Auckland born and bred, the Turner brothers grew up in Mt Albert with their three sisters and parents Jack and Elaine Turner. The area must hold fond memories for them as they now live near each other on the same street that their grandparents, Harvey and Ethel Turner, moved to in 1914 when they were married.

Turners & Growers – The second chapter in family involvement. Export apples (around 1925)



Close to land

Starting out

The brothers inherited the love their father and grandfather had for birds, dogs, and other animals as well as the outdoors, and with cousins on both sides of the family living on farms, the thought of going farming was attractive to them. While this didn’t eventuate, visiting growers over the course of their lives kept them close to the land, and say ‘that getting to know and do business with many of the special families that make up the produce industry has been a very special part of the wonderful experience we have been privileged to enjoy in the business’.

School holidays were spent working in the old family firm (now T&G Global), but when Jeffery and Peter started full-time work in the 1970s, each had a year or two in the store sweeping floors, and receiving goods for the next day’s market from local growers, as well as imports by sea and air. They then worked across a wide range of activities before training as auctioneers, which they describe as ‘a very exciting and exhilarating role that we each fulfilled for about 10 years’. Apart from their immersion in the local market activities, they were involved with exports, imports, transport, prepacking, flowers and returnable industry containers.

‘We were blessed with outstanding parents and grandparents who encouraged us to have a deep faith in God, to follow our heart’s desire, and whether in produce or elsewhere, to follow bible-based principles endeavouring to be honest, trustworthy and passionate in everything we do, treating everyone as we like to be treated ourselves, seeking life-long relationships and maintaining strong family ties.’

Inevitable change As fourth generation family members and both directors at the time, leaving the old company was not an easy time for the brothers. However, with 120 family shareholders as descendants of the original nine brothers, but only seven of those 120 working in the business, the future structure was never going to be as the past had been. ‘With a growing number of non-involved family shareholders having no feel or understanding of the vagaries of the produce industry and the influences of weather on supply and demand, and the consequential effects on the company’s results, change was inevitable’, the brothers reflect. ‘Although it would have been good to have found a way to retain ownership within the working family members, this wasn’t able to be achieved.’ Consequently, all the family members employed in the business exited between 1993 and 2000, with T&G Global owned 94% offshore today.

Fresh Direct, Mt Wellington


Fresh Direct floral merchandisers of bouquets, floral arrangements and pot-plants

A fresh start

Feeling the love

Without much idea about what they were going to do next, but with the encouragement of a number of growers, buyers and family, they started again in 1995 as Fresh Direct – around 100 years after their great-grandfather had started in the wholesale market business. They began from home with three others in the team, and within a few months, moved out near Auckland airport where good cool storage facilities were available. In 2000, they moved to Mt Wellington where they have been ever since, having relocated and consolidated within that area. Over the years, the business has continued to expand with branches opening in Wellington and Christchurch in 2004, Tauranga in 2008, and Nelson in 2017.

There is much about the industry Jeffery and Peter love including ‘the variety of shapes, colours and aromas of the produce and flowers we deal with, the fact that we are making a healthy difference to people’s lives and that fresh produce does no harm to anyone, the constant change we see in the industry in terms of new varieties, packaging and presentation, health and safety ramifications, and the incredible rate of change in terms of technology’.

From the start of their new venture the brothers were keen to develop the business in different directions and say that ‘in addition to building a business in locally grown and imported conventional produce, we took a lead in establishing programmes around floral as well as organically grown produce for retail’. Today their Purefresh Organic brand leads in supplying supermarkets nationwide with certified organic fruit and vegetables. In 2005, JP Exports was established as a separate company to specialise in exporting and today it has licences for all the key export produce lines out of New Zealand including summerfruit.

Working with good people The brothers’ job titles in the business are the same as the day they started – Jeffery is chairman and Peter is managing director, but their roles are quite different today, given the growth of the company. Paying tribute to their colleagues, the Turners say they work with ‘outstanding people … who take responsibility for many facets of the business. We have an amazing team without whom the business wouldn’t be anywhere near how it is shaped and functioning today. It’s all about people – great staff, hardworking and innovative growers and retailers.’



But without doubt their greatest love is the people and speak of ‘the amazing committed team within the company and the wonderful suppliers whom our family feel very privileged to be associated with, some going back three and others four generations on both sides of the equation’. There are inter-generational relationships at retail too, albeit fewer with ‘the ever-changing face of retail as innovation, food safety, packaging (or less!), programmes and marketing all continue to take an increasing focus in this very competitive market. We strive to make a difference in people’s lives and in a word, it has to be the loyalty of people across the industry that is so greatly valued’.

Summerfruit are special When asked for their views on New Zealand summerfruit, Jeffery and Peter are thoughtful and say that summerfruit are special in many ways. ‘They herald that great time of the year summerfruit are synonymous with, they bring a great range of inviting fruit choices and flavours to the public, they bring life, colour and great fragrance to every link in the chain; growers, transport operators, wholesale distribution, retail, and consumers!’ Revealing their knowledge and understanding of the sector, they also point out that summerfruit are special because they are ‘a tree fruit and therefore have taken time, hard work, significant investment and patience to produce, with high associated risks

of weather, variety changes and years of ongoing cost but no income while awaiting a commercial return on new plantings’. The brothers believe that the summerfruit sector has a lot going for it and must be ‘commended for its organisation and proactivity. It communicates well and is inclusive of all players across both the local and export marketing fronts. Its leaders are knowledgeable hands-on growers and packers who are well regarded and who speak from experience.’

There is little we can suggest to such an industry other than advocating for an even stronger promotional focus engaging directly with consumers through all forms of media – making certain that we’re enticing, informing and educating. Our joint goal must be to combine our efforts towards ensuring taste buds are constantly craving, and mouths are regularly drooling, for yet another feast of summerfruit – and with a real sense of urgency due to the relatively short season. From the youngest to the oldest, everyone should be excited and acutely aware that summerfruit are on, tantalised as to what’s available in stores now, inspired by the numerous health benefits and confident in how to choose quality, so as to enjoy an exceptionally pleasurable experience with every purchase. Together we must tell the story even better – lifting the importance of having quality, fresh, tasty summerfruit readily available throughout the season and additionally as a prestigious gift of health, colour and delightful aroma. For sure, the wonders and aptitudes of summerfruit should be the buzz of the coffee shops and social media throughout the short season of these marvellous fruits.

Peter and Jeffery with their Life Member awards

Modest recipients In being made life members of Summerfruit NZ, the brothers feel greatly humbled as they recall other life members who they were privileged to have known. Ignoring their own long-term and ongoing commitment to the sector, they say they ‘feel rather undeserving given the number of worthy growers who have given a lifetime of hard work and commitment to the summerfruit industry, but we are nevertheless most grateful for the honour of these awards and sincerely thank the Board of Summerfruit NZ’.

The next generation Both men have been ‘blessed with wonderful wives’ and with Jeffery’s seven children and Peter’s six children, there is no shortage of Turners to step into the family business. Currently seven members of the fifth generation work in the business (including their nephew and Summerfruit NZ Board member – Simon Tallon), and one member of the six generation is employed (along with four or five more in the school holidays). All being well the family involvement in produce will continue into the foreseeable future. Jeffery and Peter have no plans to retire at this stage. Their father worked until he was 75 and their grandfather until he was 92, so they figure they’ve got a few years in them yet!

The JP Exports stand at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong





WEATHER Sopping wet – for some Low pressures dominated the weather map in the New Zealand region during the July to September period, commonly situated over the Tasman Sea. Many regions of the country saw copious amounts of rain across these three months. Western areas of the North Island, and eastern regions of the South Island, saw the worst of the extreme rainfall events during this time. While wet winter periods are not so unusual in New Zealand, 2017 has been different, in that many North Island regions also experienced an extremely wet autumn. And so, for some areas, soils were already at or near saturation at the start of winter. To put this in context, many locations in the upper North Island have already received more than their annual rainfall quota, in just nine months. Similarly, for the eastern South Island. Tauranga, Te Puke, Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo, Hamilton, Pukekohe, Auckland central, Warkworth, Gisborne, Paraparaumu, Wellington, Christchurch and Ashburton have all received more rain in the first nine months of 2017, than is typically received across an entire year.

Napier 2017 rainfall


(as a % of monthly normal)


Blenheim 2017 rainfall





Cromwell 2017 rainfall



(as a % of monthly normal)



(as a % of monthly normal)


March April






271% 151% 255%

















March April











March April 104%



Hawkes Bay has had an extremely wet run from February to August. In contrast, after a wet start to the year, the summerfruit regions of the South Island experienced quite variable month-to-month rainfall -– although a wet April and a drier June were commonly observed. The highly unusual aspect of 2017 was how early the soils reached saturation in Hawkes Bay. Soil moistures reached capacity in very early April, and maintained at saturation through until early October. This made for a difficult season in the region. Napier soil moisture deficit (mm) Figure 1: Soil moisture deficit estimates for Napier, shown as a fiveday running mean. This plot shows 2017 data in red (data 1 January to 1 October), as well as a comparison to average (black line), and to the last three years. Soils are at saturation if deficits lie in the 0-20mm range (shown as the blue band at the bottom of the plot). Severe soil moisture deficit occurs if the deficit is 130-150mm (shown as the brown band at the top of the plot). The obvious conclusion from this graph is how much earlier than usual the Napier soils reached saturation this year. Saturation was reached in early April 2017 and maintained at saturation through until early October 2017.



Napier rainfall accumulation

Cromwell rainfall accumulation

Figure 2: Rainfall accumulation plot for Napier for the period 1 January to

Figure 4: Rainfall accumulation plot for Cromwell for the period 1 January

5 October 2017. This plot shows just how very wet this year has been (red

to 5 October 2017. Rainfall in 2017 (red line) is shown in comparison to

line), both in comparison to average (black line), and to the last three years.

average (black line) and to the last three years.

Looking ahead – Keep an eye on the tropics

Blenheim rainfall accumulation

During October, we’ve seen a return of intermittent High pressure on the weather map – interspersed by those all-too-familiar Tasman Sea Lows. However, looking ahead into summer, growers will need to keep an eye on the tropics. Sea temperatures along the equatorial Pacific have cooled during the last few weeks. Waters below the surface are also cooler than usual. While current conditions remain in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral range, all the climate models forecast further cooling before Christmas. About half of the models push into La Niña territory by the end of 2017. If a late-developing La Niña does occur, it may well be short-lived.

Figure 3: Rainfall accumulation plot for Blenheim for the period 1 January to 5 October 2017. Rainfall in 2017 (red line) is shown in comparison to average (black line) and to the last three years.

So, what does this mean for the summerfruit regions? The bottom line is: not much. Late-developing La Niña events have historically had mixed effects for the country, because they tend to be quite weak. The long and short of it is, we can’t yet say a great deal about the coming summer. You can catch our latest thinking about November weather patterns at

STAY AHEAD OF THE WEATHER! Download the FMG Rural Weather App from MetService with access to the local rain radar, severe weather information and 10 day forecasts prepared by MetService meteorologists.

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MANAGING PATHOGEN RESISTANCE Chris Hale summarises the first year of the work of the project team (Phil Elmer, Peter Wood, Virginia Marroni, Mark Braithwaite, Peter Lo, Nicola Park, Bernie Attfield, and Kate Colhoun). Background

Brown Rot on plum

As you are aware, there are four major diseases in New Zealand that seriously affect summerfruit production and marketing – Brown Rot (Monilinia fructicola), Botrytis Rot (Botrytis cinerea), Bacterial Blast (Pseudomonas syringae), and Bacterial Spot (Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni). Pathogen populations resistant to the commonly-used fungicides and bactericides essential to produce high quality summerfruit have emerged. These could represent a serious threat to sustainable production as little is known about managing fungal and bacterial resistant populations in summerfruit in New Zealand once resistance has emerged.

Managing pathogen resistance in summerfruit is a three-year project, funded by Summerfruit NZ, MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund, and Heinz Wattie’s Ltd that aims to develop a suite of grower-based management practices to slow down the development of resistant populations emerging in these key fungal and bacterial pathogens. The project focuses on cherries in Central Otago, and nectarines, peaches, and plums in Hawkes Bay by determining the: • extent of resistance in Brown Rot, Botrytis Rot, and bacterial disease populations, and identifying orchard blocks with resistance-related issues for further detailed investigations Botrytis on cherry

• impact on resistant populations of new cultural practices on the overwintering reservoirs of the pathogens • effect of new chemical and natural product-based biopesticides, and of new combinations of cultural and chemical practices on a commercial scale. The outcomes of the project will be equally relevant to the production of all summerfruit, and will be key to the goal of the summerfruit industry for the sustainable production of high quality, ‘nil-detectable residue’ fruit. The first year of surveys has been completed and we can now bring you up-to-date with the results so far. Importantly, so far there have been NO reports of Brown Rot and Botrytis disease control failures associated with the emergence of resistance.

Canker on cherry



Surveys Surveys for resistance typically use low rates of the key fungicides and bactericides to start with as they are designed to pick up any early changes in sensitivity in the pathogen population. This helps to determine the potential for the future build-up of resistance to recommended field rates. The emergence of resistant populations to low rates of the fungicides and bactericides tested, does not necessarily mean that disease control failures will occur. Testing at low rates provides an indication of the potential for resistance to occur in the future unless strict resistance management practices are followed. This is particularly important in relation to the number and timing of applications of agrichemicals, and mixing and alternating with products with different modes of action. It is also important to emphasise that the emergence of resistance in pathogen populations does not necessarily mean that disease control failures will occur. The resistant strains must acquire several important characteristics to dominate the pathogen population. In addition, new strains must have a high rate of resistance to a specific active ingredient(s) and be able to overcome the recommended field rate of the fungicide when applied to host tissues. Survey of Central Otago orchards for fungicide resistant populations of Botrytis cinerea Twelve of the 21 orchards sampled contained Botrytis populations that were classed as sensitive to low rates of a selected iprodione-based fungicide. Eight orchards had some resistance, and this ranged from 4-36%. Resistance to low rates of a carbendazim-based fungicide was widespread in 21 orchard populations, and this confirms our findings from earlier small–scale surveys.

With the exception of three orchard populations, resistance to low rates of the pyraclostrobin + boscalid fungicide was widespread. Resistance ranged from 72-100% in the 18 orchards sampled. ‘Truthing’ of resistance to recommended field rates of fungicides The next step was to determine if the isolates resistant to low rates of fungicide were able to cause disease on fruit that was treated with the full recommended field rate, prior to inoculation with sensitive and resistant strains. Experiments were then carried out to validate the potential importance of these resistant strains. Fungicide-sensitive Botrytis isolates, used as checks on the system, were completely suppressed by iprodione, carbendazim, and pyraclostrobin + boscalid-based fungicides, when the fungicides were applied to artificially wounded cherries that were then inoculated with spore suspensions. However, in similar treatments with the isolates classed as fungicide-resistant in the surveys: - iprodione-based fungicide failed to control Botrytis Rot caused by iprodione resistant isolates - carbendazim-based fungicide failed to control Botrytis Rot caused by carbendazim resistant isolates - pyraclostrobin + boscalid-based fungicide failed to control Botrytis Rot caused pyraclostrobin + boscalid resistant isolates. These results suggest that there is potential for build-up of resistance to lead to control failures in orchards, particularly if weather conditions favour disease development, unless strict resistance management guidelines are followed. As a result of the widespread resistance to carbendazim-based fungicide detected in Central Otago, and the truthing exercise, there is an urgent need to replace carbendazim-based products with different mode of action fungicide groups.

Botrytis on mummified fruit and stalks


Bacterial Canker on cherry

Survey of Hawkes Bay orchards for fungicide resistant populations of Monilinia fructicola Resistance to low rates of an iprodione-based fungicide was detected in 7 of 20 orchards sampled, and ranged from 5-17% of the isolates tested. Resistance to low rates of a carbendazim-based fungicide was detected in three orchards and ranged from 5-26% of the isolates tested. All orchards contained populations that were resistant to low rates of a tebuconazole-based fungicide, and the incidence of resistance ranged from 37-95% of the isolates tested. ‘Truthing’ of resistance to recommended field rates of fungicides As for Botrytis, similar experiments were carried out with M. fructicola to validate the potential importance of the resistance strains. Fungicide-sensitive isolates of M. fructicola were completely suppressed by iprodione, carbendazim, and tebuconazole-based fungicides when they were applied at the recommended field rates to artificial wounds followed by inoculation with spore suspensions. The iprodione-based fungicide applied at the recommended field rate had good efficacy against one iprodione-resistant isolate, but some Brown Rot developed with another resistant isolate indicating that the product still has some efficacy, but not against all resistant isolates. The carbendazim-based fungicide applied at the recommended field rate completely failed to control Brown Rot caused by carbendazimresistant isolates, indicating that these isolates had acquired a high enough level of resistance to overcome the recommended field dose. The tebuconazole-based fungicide applied at the recommended field rate showed very good efficacy against the isolates classed as tebuconazole-resistant, indicating that these isolates have not yet reached a high enough level of resistance to overcome the recommended field rate applied.



Bacterial diseases on apricot

Once again, we need to emphasise that strict fungicide resistance management guidelines are followed in order to ensure their long-term efficacy.

Bacterial diseases Bacterial Canker caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae (Pss) and Pseudomonas syringae pv. morsprunorum (Psm), and Bacterial Spot caused by Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap) are major problems for New Zealand’s summerfruit industry. The emergence of bacterial populations resistant to the limited agrichemical groups available, and used for their control, represents a serious threat to sustainable production. Strains of Xap and Pseudomonas spp. isolated from Hawkes Bay orchards in 2016, and of Pseudomonas syringae isolated from cherry orchards in Central Otago in 2015, were tested for their sensitivity to bactericides currently used in New Zealand orchards (copper and streptomycin), as well as potential new agrichemicals (kasugamycin and zinc sulphate). Survey of Hawkes Bay orchards for bactericide-resistant populations of bacterial pathogens From a total of 262 Xap strains tested, only 3% were found to be resistant to low rates of copper sulphate, while 2% and 1% respectively were found to be resistant to low rates of streptomycin and kasugamycin. The few Xap strains resistant to copper sulphate were isolated from 9 of 17 orchards sampled, and most were extremely sensitive to streptomycin. The results of the surveys to check for resistance in Xap to low rates of copper sulphate and streptomycin suggest that they still appear to be good options for control of Bacterial Spot in Hawkes Bay orchards.

From a total of 60 Pseudomonas spp. strains isolated from seven orchards in Hawkes Bay, 88% were classed as resistant to low rates of copper sulphate, 2% as resistant to streptomycin, and 2% as resistant to kasugamycin in the surveys. There was some resistance to low rates of zinc sulphate, but the resistance was variable. However, in the light of our survey results, some of the disease control problems reported by growers may be more associated with timing of treatments and the occurrence of infection events when copper application is no longer possible due to phytotoxicity. In this regard, zinc sulphate, which is less phytotoxic may be an option for control after bloom. The results also suggest that kasugamycin could be a promising chemical to add to the grower’s ‘tool box’ for control of bacterial diseases. Survey of Central Otago orchards for bactericide-resistant populations of Pseudomonas syringae From 324 Pseudomonas spp. strains isolated from 19 orchards in the survey, 81% were found to be resistant to low rates of copper sulphate, and 15% were found to be resistant to low rates of streptomycin. None of the strains were classed as resistant to kasugamycin. High levels of copper sulphate-resistant strains were detected in each of the orchards sampled. These results are in agreement with previous findings during a smaller scale survey conducted in 2012 (87% and 18% resistant to copper sulphate and streptomycin, respectively). The resistance to copper sulphate in strains isolated from the cherry orchards sampled may be contributing to reduced Pseudomonas spp. control by commercial formulations of copper-based products that are commonly used in orchards. This indicates that alternatives to copper-based products need to be found for control of Bacterial Canker. As kasugamycin appears to be an attractive alternative, it is being evaluated in field trials in Central Otago as part of the current project. Although some resistance to streptomycin was detected, levels were quite low, and consequently, it could continue to be used under a strict resistance management programme to ensure its long-term efficacy. Bactericide tests at recommended field rates using host tissue being challenged by the resistant strains (‘Truthing’), will be carried out during the new growing season to determine the potential for loss of efficacy of the agrichemicals.

Benchmarking agrichemical use – How well are we doing? Earlier we mentioned following the resistance management guidelines to minimise or delay the chance of resistance to agrichemicals developing in the key diseases affecting summerfruit. Benchmarking agrichemical use is an integral part of the project, and allows the summerfruit sector to monitor, on an annual basis, how well growers are complying with the resistance management guidelines. For the 2016-17 growing season, summerfruit spray diaries were received from 79 growers in Central Otago and 61 growers in Hawkes Bay. These diaries encompassed 2,138 summerfruit blocks and totalled approximately 62,000 data entries.

Compliance with fungicide resistance management guidelines Central Otago summerfruit growers have complied well with the fungicide resistance management guidelines, particularly those concerning the maximum number of applications and number of consecutive applications of some fungicide mode of action groups. Three other recommendations for certain fungicide groups, however, were followed less satisfactorily. Firstly, compliance with restricting periods of use to certain parts of the growing season was variable. The large majority of SDHI, QoI, and AP fungicides and streptomycin were applied in the correct periods, but approximately half of the MBC and DMI sprays were applied outside the recommended times. The advice to apply DMIs, SDHIs and QoIs as mixtures with a protectant fungicide was not followed. Similarly, less than half of the SDHI programmes fully complied with the recommendation to alternate SDHIs, when applied alone, with protectant fungicides. In Hawkes Bay, most growers followed the guidelines on the maximum number of applications, although compliance for the DCA group was slightly less. However, compliance was rated only moderate to poor, and even very low in some cases, for guidelines specifying the timing, mixing, and alternating of applications. A maximum of two consecutive sprays is recommended for SDHIs and QoIs, and growers complied on most blocks. Abbreviations for commonly used active ingredients SDHI succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor QoI quinone outside inhibitor AP anilinopyrimidine MBC methyl-benzimidazole carbamate DMI demethylation inhibitor DCA dicarboximide Concluding comments The project on Managing pathogen resistance in summerfruit is proceeding well, and there will be regular updates in Summerfruit as new information comes to hand. There will also be end of season research meetings in both Central Otago and Hawkes Bay, similar to those in June of this year, which proved very popular with growers, orchard managers and orchard staff, and generated some extremely good discussion and feedback on the project to date. Finally, if you wish to discuss the issue of pathogen resistance in your block, please contact Chris Hale. Importantly, if you do not know the fungicide sensitivity status of your pathogen populations in your blocks, and you have some concerns, we urge you to get samples taken and tested in a suitable diagnostic laboratory. Throughout this project, the research team has worked in close partnership with Mark Braithwaite at Plant Diagnostics Ltd, and this laboratory has the experience and expertise to carry out tests you might require. All photos kindly provided by Plant & Food Research.





As with our political system of MMP, the weather gods up here in the north can’t seem to make up their minds about our spring. One of the wettest on record, and preceded by a relatively mild winter, it has been a very disrupted and extended blossom period. Not sure at the moment how that will affect crop volume – we should know in a few weeks (probably about when you’re reading this). Coming out of winter and it seems that the good people of Auckland are hanging out for fresh summer fruit with early season strawberries (picking started 1st October) being snapped up. I note with interest that Hort NZ is starting a ‘Growers’ blog’ [@ growersofnz]. I’m not the most social media savvy person, but can only see benefits from this initiative as more and more people use this form of media to communicate and (more importantly and scarily if you ask me) to keep themselves informed. Believe me I am in the minority of one when at my daughter’s ballet practice I pull out the paper to read while all other ‘ballet mums’ are on their smartphones. Next week I might pull out the Best Bets and put some coin on the GGs just to get a reaction! Social media in whatever form is here to stay and we must embrace it to showcase our strong vibrant industry and the good people in it. Also, we must be prepared for those radicals out there who may wish to shoot down anything involving say; large machinery, agricultural sprays, and a migrant labour force. Just cast your eye to the media storm in Australia recently regarding the shearing of sheep. On the whole people aren’t stupid, but they just need awareness of the progress our industry has made on so many fronts, and yes, we could leave it up to Summerfruit NZ or Hort NZ to do that stuff for us (which they currently do) but via social media individuals can do this as well. We are some of the best growers in the world, so why not tell everyone we are! Finally, this will be my last regular update for the Auckland region. I hope you have enjoyed my musings over the years and wish everyone a safe and fruitful harvest. Regards Monte




We have had a great winter chill this year. There have been a few wet, cloudy days thrown into the mix, which has helped set up the crucial chilling hours that are so important. The rain has been on and off, with July getting 111mm of rain. This held up our planting programme, making the soil moisture content high. We ended up dropping down four sink holes at 1200mm deep, at a spades width square, to check the water levels. In the wettest area the level of the water from the top of the hole was 450mm, which took a week to drop to 200mm. All of this convinced us that we need to drain the land before planting cherries. This has been the wettest period that we have had for a few years, and was a useful reminder to prepare for these times, because you can tend to forget. The last time we had a very wet July, we had trouble with pollination in the wet areas of the orchard, particularly for the early flowering varieties. During the flowering in August, we had patchy weather. This was quite a contrast to the recent September, which has been warm and windy. There has also been hail. Due to these conditions we are now needing some rain for the young trees.

Spring has got off to a flying start with our flowering being 10-14 days ahead of last year. As we know, this does not mean that harvesting will be the same and it has a very good chance of being earlier. The crop load looks good, with the exception of some very early nectarines and plums. We are thinning flat out as the Royal Rosa apricots are loaded with fruit. It is crucial that we get the fruit off, during this thinning period, so the size of the fruit is not affected at harvest. The cost of labour is high, but luckily there are plenty of thinners around as our RSE workers are arriving about a week later this year. Since the Ruataniwha Dam project has been shelved, Plan Change 6 is still going to affect the lower Tukituki growers. Hopefully the TANK group can come up with a practical agreement to solve the issues for the growers. Also on the water stakes, it has been very busy with the Water Conservation Order (WCO), which has been put on the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers. There have been submissions to prepare and a protest was also organised. This is now going into the hearing process. Here’s hoping that this WCO is defeated as it will have wide-reaching consequences for all growers on the Heretaunga Plains. One thing to watch for this year is split stone. Make sure that you remove it out of your first-grade fruit and sell it to a market that will accept it. Good luck for the season and make sure your fruit is well worth eating.



Spring is amazing – there are lambs being born, there are lawns growing like mad, and there are fruit trees blossoming. Every year it happens and every year we are amazed. This year the blossom seems to be exceptional. Maybe it’s because Bernie and I are easing our way out of orcharding or maybe it just IS a great blossom! Whichever, the weather continues to cause havoc. The spring has been very wet which will undoubtedly affect the pollination of some cherry varieties. Unfortunately, the rains have come while the apricots were in blossom. Let’s see what comes of it. The winter in Marlborough was cold, producing enough winter chill hours required before the end of July, which is unusually early for us. The winter also brought storms that blew out some roof sections of net. This created a huge replacement effort in the spring. It’s certainly not a job for the fainthearted or inexperienced. The wet ground made it difficult for machinery, but the nets are now secured and functional. In September there has also been some grafting of cherry varieties that have underperformed in previous years. The bench grafts are looking successful at this stage and I’m sure they will continue on to produce wonderful cherries. In conclusion, if the moisture levels in the soil remain high, there will be no need to irrigate, so there will be no worries about who goes into coalition with Winston! By the time you read this, all will be revealed. As this will be my final round up I’d like to wish you all a fruitful season.




The winter didn’t deliver a Bonspiel, but the spring looks as though it has delivered good crops of apricots and most likely cherries, although there is still a chance of some going AWOL. Peaches and nectarines are looking good as well. The trees and crops are advancing at a great rate of knots here in Central with the season a good 7 to 10 days early, with more warm weather in the forecast. Every time that rain is predicted, we may at best, have a few showers. Our spring didn’t kick off too good with a number of -5°C to -7°C in mid to late August and a couple in early September for good measure. But since then there has been nothing threatening with frost fans and overhead water easily handling any risk. Warmer blocks have had no requirement for any protection. There is a bit of bacterial infection showing in young trees. Quite a variation by block and variety with some blocks quite badly hit in places. We held off doing anything with our own trees as there was some die back and gumming showing. If we are through the worst

of it then I’ll be pretty happy as young trees haven’t had an easy go of it. There were some heavy early frosts in the autumn followed by some -8°C and bigger in the winter. The size of the winter frosts wasn’t necessarily the issue, it was the intermittent nature of the frosts and the relatively warm periods in between. And then into the spring conditions as noted above. Altogether not particularly good conditions for young trees. Bacterial Blast, Canker, Pox or whatever one wishes to call it, is probably still our biggest hurdle. Selecting warm sites is one of the best options to combat or at least mitigate the problem. Being fortunate to be able to get in and out of a number of blocks, the difference between cold and warm blocks is quite amazing. The evenness of tree development in the warmer sites where there has been very little infection, against those blocks where the scaffold limbs, leaders and fruiting spurs have all been affected, is a strong message that the first step in managing bacterial tree infection is site selection. I am sure that Virginia Marroni’s work using frost protection at both ends of the growing season will show positive results in tree health. There has been another big plant up of trees through winter and spring (I still don’t understand why growers plant trees coming


from the warmer climes into our midwinter temperatures when all the advice is not to do it). The biggest chunk of the plantings are cherries with some big (100ha+) plantings on the way and others planned. Trees are in short supply with waiting lists growing. Is this the boom and bust of the cherry wave? Or is there plenty of room in the market niche that Central’s cherries are sold? I pick up nervous vibes from some growers and exporters as to what may happen with the increased production. My crystal ball broke some many moons ago but it seems to me that the three most important assets for any cherry is still ‘quality, quality and quality’ to quote the late Mack Nicol; a long time ago exporter extraordinaire. But this must go with well thought out and constructed marketing plans that have a vision of years, not just today’s sale price, marketers, not traders. Thinking back to some Marketing 101 lectures, one strong message that I recall is that if you don’t know something, don’t assume what the answer may be. For our cherry markets, there are a huge number of unknowns and we need to find some answers. The practice of ‘plant and dream’ (a quote from the late John Webb) is not sustainable. John always said that the best and easiest part of growing fruit was the ‘plant and dream stage’. The hard work and failures were yet to come. Summerfruit NZ’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project looks to answer some of the unknowns. The proposal has gone to MPI for the first stage of a number, to gain funding support. And now we have a change of government, so who knows what will happen. It is heartening to see pretty much a full crop of apricots out there with thinning in full swing. With the early season and heavy crop load in places, I would be more comfortable with thinning completed by Labour weekend rather than starting at Labour



weekend. My experience was there was a significant benefit in size and thus yield, with earlier thinning. Pumpkin-sized apricots isn’t the answer, nor is a large volume of fruit under 50mm. I have been on the edges of an apricot marketing programme being pieced together by the Central Otago Premium Fruit group and MGs. There are some difficulties to work through and wrinkles to iron out, but with commitment from all parties and a successful harvest, then this should bring increased returns to the grower. Apricots need a lift in returns as (even with lighter crops) in the past few years the returns for both export and NZ market have shrunk. For sure the new PFR/SNZ selections with their improved eating quality will help, but any volume of these is still a few years away. And to finish with cherries. If they hang on and the weather is kind, there will be another significant lift in volume this season. There are a number of new blocks coming on stream or still moving towards full production and last year’s volume was affected by light crops in Sweetheart and Staccato. Fortunately, there have been major packhouse upgrades in the region with a new packhouse also under construction. I’m thinking that the challenge will be labour and the wild card being the incoming government. Cherries require a heavy investment in labour for harvest and packing compared to any other fruit crop that we grow. Let’s hope that all those people that have registered on the various grower, packer and industry websites front up. I guess the other major challenge will be the lateness of Chinese New Year. No doubt those with marketing rather than trading plans in place, will be comfortable with the timing and have longterm marketing programmes ready. By the time the next issue of Summerfruit appears, we will know. Best wishes for the season.

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Summerfruit magazine November 2017  
Summerfruit magazine November 2017