May 15 2015

Monthly Update - May 2015

Teachers take a lesson

Attracting young people into horticulture is not easy.  As a way to showcase our industry to those that may have some input into students career choice TNZ sponsored the Pukekohe Young Vegetable Grower (PYVG) of the Year competition and used this as an opportunity to invite horticulture teachers from schools around the region to attend the evening awards dinner and also take a tour of NZ Hothouse.

Alison Digweed, Rural Science Teacher at Te Kauwhata College and newly elected HATA NZ (Horticulture and Agriculture Teacher Association) - Horticulture President was one of the teachers that attended.  Alison found both the tour of NZ Hothouse and the awards dinner very beneficial. 

Seeing a horticultural production business provided genuine opportunities to extend the teachers understanding of the industry and see what really happens. Alison commented that the tour “allowed teachers to meet key providers in the industry and experience horticulture in a real life situation as well as provide insight into the types of things that horticultural production businesses deal with on a day to day basis, such as markets, pollinators, pests and disease”.  She also noted that often teachers come into teaching horticulture keen to do a good job but have come from other backgrounds such as science so experiencing the practical aspect of horticulture gives them a greater level of understanding for teaching students.

Of the awards dinner speakers Alison commented “I was impressed with the speakers, all seemed passionate about making a positive difference in horticulture and had obviously spent a long time preparing”.

In future Alison would like to see visits within the horticulture sector incorporated into teacher’s professional development in order to expose them to more facets of the industry.  She would also like the opportunity for students to visit horticultural production sites so they can see the variety of opportunities available enabling them to make informed decisions when choosing a career option.  “Many students have no idea of the fantastic opportunities available to them or what it really entails”.  Some students do one day a week work experience and when asked whether they would be interested in doing this in the area of horticulture they were “keen as mustard” Alison said.


Fresher by Sea

One of the initiatives under the TNZ Market Led Export strategy was to extend shipping life of fresh tomatoes to 3-4 weeks to enable sea-freight of a premium product that attracts a premium price to markets currently only reached by airfreight. Plant and Food Research have been gathering and interpreting biological, technical and logistical research that has already been undertaken on tomatoes to determine what science is already available and it’s practical application to facilitate this goal. The first stage of the research is near completion with a report due at the end of April.  The findings and recommendations of this report will be presented at the TNZ Board meeting in May.  From the results of this report it will then be determined whether it is worth progressing with further research.


Agrichemical Review Update

EPA re-assessment of Bee non-contact periods

The EPA is reviewing non-contact periods of certain organophosphate and carbamate plant protection substances, in order to protect bees and other insect pollinators against adverse effects arising from post-application exposure to substances containing acephate, dimethoate, methamidophos, methomyl and oxamyl. A submission in response to this re-assessment was made on behalf of four Horticulture NZ product groups including TomatoesNZ. Tomatoes are an affected crop as methomyl and oxamyl is used in the greenhouse during flowering. The public hearing was attended by Ben Smith in February 2015 where the case for continued use of methomyl and oxamyl over flowering was presented to the hearing panel. The decision has not been released by the EPA at the time of printing, but is expected in the very near future. An update will be provided in the next issue of the Grower.


Dichlorvos EPA reassessment

The EPA staff have just released their report with recommendations for dichlorvos. EPA have recommended that indoor greenhouse application continue (Divap & Nuvos) but only via fully automatic application methods as well as a range of other controls. A public hearing is set to be held on the 6th of May. TomatoesNZ will be represented by Ben Smith who will provide an overview of the benefits of continued use of dichlorvos in greenhouse tomatoes to the EPA hearing panel. The panel will make a final decision on the future of dichlorvos and an update on the outcome will be provided in the next issue of the Grower. 


TomatoesNZ AGM and Conference – Save the date

The 2015 TomatoesNZ AGM and conference are scheduled for 28/29 July in Rotorua.  Registration for the 2015 Tomatoes NZ AGM and conference are now open via the News, Events and Media tab on the HorNZ website ( The cost of conference registration is $290 for both days.

TomatoesNZ is offering its members the opportunity to claim back the conference registration fee plus up to $250 towards the cost of travel and accommodation.

If you want to take advantage of this you should register yourself for the conference and submit a claim form with receipts attached. The funding pool is limited to about 15 growers, so funding will be provided (for one person per tomato growing entity) on a first-in-first served basis.  Claim forms can be found on the TNZ website ( or by contacting Lynda Banks on 04 494 9981.

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