South­ern road trip

NZ Grower - - Contents -

Hort NZ talks to grow­ers and re­gional and dis­trict coun­cils be­tween Dunedin and Christchurch.

The Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­ment (NRE) team of An­gela Hal­l­i­day, As­tra Fos­ter and Rachel Mc­Clung vis­ited South Is­land grow­ers at the end of last year, with com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Josie Vi­dal along for the road trip from Dunedin to Christchurch. The group met with the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil and Ti­maru Dis­trict Coun­cil as well as grow­ers Dale and Han­nah Jor­dan, Re­becca Tur­ley, Robin Oak­ley, and Lance, Mak­ereta and Lin­coln Roper.

Dale and Han­nah Jor­don, of Sad­dle­view Greens in Mos­giel, near Dunedin, have been grow­ing let­tuce, kale and spinach hy­dro­pon­i­cally for five years. With 17 hot­houses on their 2.5 hectare prop­erty, the greens they pro­duce are sold fresh in the lower half of the South Is­land. They are in­ter­ested in be­ing as sus­tain­able as they can be and heat­ing comes from re­cy­cled waste oil which burns clean. Re­becca Tur­ley re­cently joined the fam­ily busi­ness, Tur­ley Farms in Te­muka, near Ti­maru, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been at Rabobank. She has been on the Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme and an in­tern di­rec­tor at MG Mar­ket­ing and comes from a line of veg­etable grow­ers. Tur­ley Farms is a large scale grain, seed and veg­etable busi­ness, started in 1952 by Re­becca’s grand­par­ents Mar­garet and Alan Tur­ley and now run by her par­ents Mar­garet and Mur­ray Tur­ley. The veg­eta­bles they grow are mainly pota­toes and onions, with 95% of the onions ex­ported.

There are five gen­er­a­tions of grow­ers in Robin Oakely’s fam­ily and Robin has been grow­ing com­mer­cially since he was 15 years old. Oak­ley’s Pre­mium Fresh Veg­eta­bles, based in South­bridge, near Christchurch grow pota­toes, broc­coli, pump­kin, peas and beet­root, with their fresh brands sold through­out the South Is­land and now in the North Is­land. Robin holds a num­ber of in­dus­try lead­er­ship roles and is on the board for United Fresh New Zealand, which op­er­ates the 5 + a day pro­gramme and runs fruit in schools.

Lance and Mak­ereta Roper spe­cialise in peeled red onions from their prop­erty at Lin­coln, near Christchurch, pro­duc­ing up to 800 tonnes a year, as well as grow­ing pump­kins, peas and beans. One of their sons, Lin­coln, who is headed to Lin­coln Uni­ver­sity this year to study agri­cul­ture, has been a fi­nal­ist in the Young Veg­etable Grower of the Year com­pe­ti­tion and has been ac­tively help­ing his par­ents on the farm since the age of seven. Just 16 at the time, Lin­coln was the youngest ever to com­pete in the Young Veg­etable Grower com­pe­ti­tion, and while that made him in­el­i­gi­ble to com­pete for the na­tional Young Grower of the Year ti­tle – en­trants must be at least 18 years

of age – he was still keen to par­tic­i­pate for the ex­pe­ri­ence. Lin­coln has been our most pop­u­lar post­ing on our In­sta­gram @Grow­er­sofNZ.

Hort NZ loves vis­it­ing grow­ers and find­ing out about their busi­nesses, as well as learn­ing new things.

New-York based ur­ban farm­ing ex­pert Henry Gor­donSmith vis­ited Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand in early De­cem­ber 2017 and talked about how ur­ban farm­ing might fit into the New Zealand food pro­duc­tion sys­tem. In­no­va­tions such as grow­ing seedlings ver­ti­cally to free up land for the next stage of growth could be­come op­tions as grow­ing land con­tin­ues to be squeezed by houses. Henry spoke at a Food and Fi­bre In­no­va­tion Con­fer­ence in Welling­ton about suc­cess­ful, as well as not so suc­cess­ful, high-tech ap­proaches to creat­ing sus­tain­able food in cities. He has a pop­u­lar blog, Agri­tec­, if you want to find out more.

Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand and the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries are mak­ing steady progress on the recog­ni­tion of the GAP schemes for Food Act ver­i­fi­ca­tion, which will mean that meet­ing Food Act re­quire­ments will be seam­less for GAP ap­proved grow­ers. MPI has re­cently ac­knowl­edged that the NZGAP Scheme, check­list and au­di­tors meet the Food Act re­quire­ments un­der Na­tional Pro­gramme level 1 and it is look­ing at the ac­cep­tance of other GAP schemes and check­lists used by grow­ers (e.g. GLOBALG.A.P.). This will mean that your next GAP au­dit will also count as a Food Act au­dit, re­duc­ing com­pli­ance costs for grow­ers.

In Jan­u­ary, Hor­ti­cul­ture New Zealand used a me­dia re­lease to point out that bet­ter think­ing needs to go into long-term so­lu­tions for the weather vari­a­tions that are in­creas­ingly bring­ing storms and drought that im­pact the food chain. Dams get a bad rap from those who don’t seem to un­der­stand the wider com­mu­nity ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing sus­tain­able wa­ter sup­ply for ur­ban dwellers, so Ju­lian Raine and Mike Chap­man spoke to me­dia about the need to plan ahead for drought by stor­ing wa­ter when it is plen­ti­ful, in­clud­ing via dams. There is a lot of ed­u­ca­tion about wa­ter – where it comes from and how it is re­plen­ished, or not, as the case may be - re­quired across all lev­els of gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic. This mag­a­zine cov­ers the is­sue on pages 2-3; 12-28; 30-31.


In De­cem­ber, Hort NZ hosted a grower meet­ing in Levin to dis­cuss how the veg­etable in­dus­try in Horowhenua can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to coun­cil and the com­mu­nity to prove that they are meet­ing Good Man­age­ment Prac­tice and re­duc­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, in the ab­sence of re­source con­sents.

In Jan­u­ary, Hort NZ met with grow­ers in Pukekohe on the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil - Plan Change 1: Healthy Rivers.

The meet­ing was to ex­plain, and get feed­back on, key as­pects of Hort NZ’s sub­mis­sion.

Hort NZ has sub­mit­ted on Waipa Dis­trict Plan Changes 5, 6, and 7. Key mat­ters ad­dressed in­clude:

• In­ad­e­quate con­sid­er­a­tion of the eco­nomic and so­cial im­pacts of the loss of high class soil to ur­ban devel­op­ment

• Land sup­ply – es­pe­cially high class soil

• Ac­cess to in­fra­struc­ture and wa­ter

• Re­verse sen­si­tiv­ity

• Con­sul­ta­tion on fu­ture struc­ture plans and uplift­ing of de­ferred zones. The sub­mis­sion is on the Hort NZ web­site.


A brown mar­morated stink bug (BMSB) find in im­ported ma­chin­ery was de­tected and re­ported be­fore any real dam­age could be done. The in­sects were found con­tained in the con­trol panel of a con­crete mixer from Italy, a coun­try that has seen in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tions of BMSB in re­cent years. The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries sealed the ma­chin­ery in plas­tic and re­fu­mi­gated it.

Sub­se­quently, in De­cem­ber, the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries in­tro­duced new treat­ment re­quire­ments that mean that all sea con­tain­ers from Italy now need to be treated ei­ther off­shore (in Italy) or on ar­rival in New Zealand. The new re­quire­ments were im­ple­mented on De­cem­ber 23, 2017 and will re­main in place un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary 2018.

Hort NZ biose­cu­rity rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tended the De­cem­ber Ki­wifruit Vine Health fa­cil­i­tated Ki­wiNet work­shop. Ki­wiNet is a net­work of peo­ple from across the ki­wifruit in­dus­try, who cham­pion biose­cu­rity readi­ness and co-or­di­nate the de­ploy­ment of in­dus­try re­sources into biose­cu­rity re­sponses. The work­shop fo­cused on in­creas­ing biose­cu­rity best prac­tice, and the progress made over the past six months on ki­wifruit in­dus­try threat readi­ness. At­ten­dees also took part in an ex­er­cise to help for­mu­late the early draft of a


Pic­tured, from left: Dale and Han­nah Jor­dan at Sad­dle­view Greens

Re­becca Tur­ley at Tur­ley Farms in Te­muka Robin Oak­ley on a day of potato plant­ing at Oak­ley’s Pre­mium Fresh Veg­eta­bles

Red onion grow­ers Lance and Lin­coln Roper at Roper and Son

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