Your Levy at Work
The threat of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) at the border has been at an all-time high this summer and Horticulture jew Zealand’s biosecurity manager Richard Palmer has been busy representing growers’ interests in the fight against this bug taking hold. He has been talking about biocontrols like the samurai wasp being prepared in case of a BMSB incursion, and this has received significant media and public attention.
shile known high-risk pathways like vehicles from the US are under strict control, the detections of BMSB are coming from an increasing number of countries, across a broad range of imported goods. Fortunately many shipping lines, importers and transitional facilities are being proactive to mitigate the risk of BMSB establishment. Hort NZ reminds all growers to check their machinery and imports in case of BMSB stowaways.
Richard Palmer and Process Vegetables NZ chair David Hadfield have been to the Wairarapa to hear about the pea weevil response first-hand. At the Foundation for Arable Research field day in February, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff briefed growers about the progress made in attracting weevils to the trap crops, then destroying those crops along with the weevils. Key risks to the quarantine project are any backyard peas growing that might provide habitat for pea weevils, and the introduction of pea straw which again may produce peas from residual seed. Hort NZ reminds growers that any benefits gained from these actions will be far outweighed by the devastating effects that the pea weevil will have on long term production of the crop in jew Zealand. For every season there are peas for the weevil to reproduce, the response will have to begin again, extending the ban out another two years.
If you are aware of peas growing in the Controlled Area, please call MPI on 0800 80 99 66. All calls are confidential.
Hort NZ has been actively involved in looking at workforce needs in the Gisborne area and has supported local industry leaders asking for a horticulture workforce strategy, a co-ordinator for the region, and integrated employment and training initiatives for permanent and seasonal workers. se estimate about 1,2LL more people will be required in the next three to five years for production, related processing, and associated services. So it was good news when, at the end of February, the Government announced funding of $1.8 million to grow the skills and capability of the regional labour force. Significant benefits to horticulture include initiatives such as supporting workers to get driver and truck driver licences, supporting the seasonal labour force, and $150,000 towards a coordinator in the horticulture sector.
In February the Hort NZ Board and chief executive Mike Chapman visited growers in the Horowhenua area to get a feel for their issues and where Hort NZ can advocate to help. These visits are enormously valuable for the Board and chief executive and enable them to focus Hort NZ resources on the big issues.
In February, arin Atkinson of Apata Group Limited in Te Puke was named Bay of Plenty’s Young Fruit Grower for 2017. arin, 29, won the individual challenges in both biosecurity and orchard tractor proficiency, and is the first woman to take the title since the competition began in 2LL7.
“It didn’t really sink in that I’d won until the next day”, arin said. “It’s pretty awesome to be the first female to win in so long, I’m a real advocate for women in horticulture so it's great to represent.”
Danni van der Heijden from Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool was the runner-up, and Aaron
Wright of East Pack came in third.
Hort NZ runs the national Young Grower
of the Year competition and arin has won
Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the Year finalists, from left: Aaron Wright, Danni Van Der Heijden, Erin Atkinson, Hamish Mckain, Nikesh Gurung, and Hohepa Tatana. Eventual winner Erin is profiled on pages 24 - 26.
29-year-old BoP Young Grower winner Erin Atkinson.