June 2021 update
Hygiene measures for greenhouses
We have designed a poster on general greenhouse hygiene measures for staff so you can display this prominently at your site. This poster provides common sense measures that are recommended for staff and visitors to prevent an infection in your greenhouse and minimise spread. The posters will be made available to all TomatoesNZ members shortly, and if you want further copies or more information on this please contact us.
Grower energy workshops
We hosted two workshops (in Christchurch and Pukekohe) focusing on energy for greenhouse growers in May, with over 100 people attending across the two events. Speakers covered several topics including:
- Energy efficiency measures for greenhouse growers
- Low carbon greenhouse heating technologies
- Using sustainable heating from biomass and crop waste
- Learnings from growers undertaking energy efficiency changes and transition measures, along with tips for growers to consider
- The development of a greenhouse industry decarbonisation plan with the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA)
Consultation on coil boiler ban
Last month we worked with HortNZ to submit on the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) proposal for phasing out fossil fuels on process heat.
Our key points were on:
- the thresholds for “low-GHG emitting” sites, ensuring there is provision for fossil fuel boilers as back-up for security of energy supply and dealing with peak loads; and the definition of small vs large users.
- provision for industry level guidance on best practice and also on the process for responding to councils on what is economically and technically feasible for a greenhouse business & region. This included examples of where growers have looked at non-fossil fuels options and determined these are not economically and/or technically feasible and why.
- feedback on the timeframes for phase out of fuel types (coal and other fossil fuels). We emphasised the need for a clear transition plan which includes allowing for a regular review of the alternate energy options available by region and requirement. These are difficult to predict right now and it is important flexibility is built in to any policy to allow businesses the ability to operate and transition sensiblity. This needs a collaborative practical approach over time to support efficient and effective transition and to avoid stranded assets by policy moving too fast.
- emphasised the importance of local fresh and healthy fruit and vegetable supply, noting the opportunity cost of importing with the loss of food supply on a national and regional level and lack of food security for New Zealand.
- noted the use of CO2 produced by gas and the need for best practices to manage situations where it may not be feasible to transition away from gas.
MfE have advised they will be using submission feedback to guide their draft which will be published later this year and there will be an opportunity to provide further feedback on this before it goes to the Parliamentary Counsel Office. They have indicated this will be in August-September 2021. In addition, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are drafting an emissions reduction plan in August/September and will be seeking industry feedback on this.
Update on FTEK tomato automation project
In mid May, Auckland members of the TomatoesNZ board had an update with FTEK on the development of a labour saving robot for tomato growers. Following the initial design and digital stages FTEK are on track for development of a physical prototype in June. We look forward to learning more on this exciting and innovative automation for the industry as it develops over the next two years.
Topics for Covered crops growers at the Horticulture conference, 5th August 2021
At the Horticulture conference on Thursday 5th August, we are planning a series of short sessions for covered crop growers. Topics will include:
- greenhouse hygiene practices – practical steps for growers
- how to make the best use of biocontrol’s in your greenhouse, crop scouting, and an update on the latest biocontrol research
- energy plans for the greenhouse industry
The TomatoesNZ Inc AGM will be held at the Horticulture Conference, at Mystery Creek 4.15pm on Thursday 5th August 2021. The conference runs over two days and this year the theme is “Resilience and Recovery”.
TomatoesNZ will again be offering funding support for members who wish to attend our AGM and the conference. Please contact us to confirm arrangements for this prior to registering which can be done at: https://conferences.co.nz/hortnz2021/
As we have a limited numbers available we suggest registering early so you don’t miss out on a place.
Current board members Callum Grant from Kakanui, and Albert Shih from Canterbury, retire by rotation this year and both have confirmed they will make themselves available for re-election. In addition, there is currently also one vacancy for an elected board member.
If you are a tomato grower interested in joining the board, please get in touch with me to find out more.