Apr 28 2022

April 2022

FTEK Automation project update

FTEK is nearing completion of the first stage of R&D towards a 3-stage labour saving automation programme backed by growers and industry groups within the NZ greenhouse industry. The company plans to showcase their working prototype of what they now refer to as a “robotic labour assist platform (RLAP)” at the upcoming May TNZ workshop. This robotic platform combines clever hardware and software with a key focus on modular tasking capability.

FTEK will be giving us a demo of their robot on 18th May in Pukekohe (see below)!

May Grower Workshop

18th May – Pukekohe join us online or in person!

We are busy finalising the details for our grower workshop which will provide the chance to hear updates from some of our key project leads. This event will be both an in-person workshop in Pukekohe or online and is open to all TNZ members to attend for free. Topics covered are:

•Virus Management - Jeremy Thompson from PHEL labs
•Mitigating Pests & Disease in Seeds by ENZA Zaden
•DIY Tools for reducing Energy use by Insa Errey from EECA
•Help shape National Party’s horticulture policy with a Q&A
•Improving Pest Control by Lex Dillion from A Lighter Touch
•FTEK showcase of working prototype of the Robotic Labour Assist Platform (RLAP) (in person attendees only)

Information for attending will only be sent to those registered so please complete this form to book your spot.


TomatoesNZ board nominations

The TomatoesNZ AGM will be held in August and will include elections for board members. This year two grower elected members will retire by rotation. 

  • Simon Watson is offering himself for re-election
  • Mayank (Mike) Saklani is offering himself for re-election.

We also have one opening on our board that is not currently filled. Nominations are now being sought from individual grower members and affiliated grower associations for these three vacancies.  Candidates must be nominated by at least two grower members or affiliated organisations.

Nominations close at 5pm, Thursday 9th June. Please email Dinah Cohen for a nomination form Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz

Biosecurity Update

You might have noticed that we have updated the biosecurity posters on our website. Please circulate these amongst your employees who might need to refer to them. They can be found under ‘Biosecurity’ and ‘Exotic Pest Fact Sheets’ on this website.


PepMV Testing kits

Over the coming month you will be receiving phone call to check in with you. This is our way of personally seeing which of our members are still growing tomatoes, checking how the season has been for you and also offering you the opportunity to receive a free testing kit for PepMV. The kit contains everything you need to send samples of the tomato plants you will be removing at the end of the growing season, to a lab for testing. As you’re aware, there has been some PepMV detected in a small number of plants in New Zealand over the last 14 months. This testing of samples from all tomato growers will help us confirm that the virus hasn’t spread beyond the few growers that we are already aware of. This in turn should play a significant role in the export markets that haven’t already reopened, most importantly Australia. Please do send in your samples and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Dinah Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz


A Lighter Touch (ALT), which TomatoesNZ is a programme participant in, have produced a grower resource on the management of biopesticides by growers. If you’d like a copy of this, please email Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz As the name suggests biopesticides derive from naturally occurring compounds and are best used in an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, alongside synthetic agrichemicals. Some of the main benefits of using an IPM are:

-          Less likely to building resistance

-          Contribute to an environmentally responsible production system

-          Fewer restrictions on their use e.g. timing with harvest due to compliance with residue limits

Making sure that you ask the right questions before purchasing is key. You need to know that you’re buying a registered product, how / when and why to use it as well as what other bio or agrichemical products it is compatible with.

Sleep Pest research paper

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare have published a paper on engagement strategies and managing sleeper pests by Dr Geoff Kaine. Email Dinah.cohen@hortnz.co.nz if you’d like a copy.

Summer promotions review

Over the summer period we had 3 different partnerships running campaigns to promote all things tomatoes! If you haven’t already seen these promotions, please checkout, like and share The Tomato Source (Facebook, Instagram and a dedicated website), Simon Gault’s videos and 5+A Day.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YD4cmeBR0U (or search on YouTube for Simon Gault)

www.5aday.co.nz/recipes/mediterranean-tomato-salad/ (or search ‘tomatoes’ for lots more recipe ideas)

Simon Gault info      5+ADay Overall view