Sep 15 2015

Monthly Update - September 2015

Imports arriving amid concerns of excess NZ supply

During June, 35 tonnes of Australian tomatoes were imported amid concerns from local growers that there was already excess NZ supply in the marketplace. The imports arrived before the NZ retail price reached the usual trigger point of $9.99.

For the first time, Australian irradiated pre-packed specialty tomatoes have been seen here, and some mainstream supermarkets have been stocking the imports for $4.99 - $5.99 a pack. 

In July, a total of 110 tonnes of Australian tomatoes landed here. In 2014 a total of 371 tonnes were imported.


TomatoesNZ Conference Day a success

It was great to see so many tomato growers and industry people attend the conference in Rotorua on 27 July – I’m sorry I didn’t manage to catch up with you all!   

The presentations by Dutch crop hygiene specialist Ines van Marrewijk were a highlight. The morning session covered the factors influencing residues including product choice, application methods and the environment, plus some startling information about residue variation within crops.  There is an article about her afternoon session in the Grower magazine. 

Ines’ presentation slides can be downloaded from

A big thank you to AGMARDT for funding Ines’ travel to New Zealand.


Tomatoes New Zealand Incorporated 

The incorporated society application paperwork was completed during the TomatoesNZ AGM, with the required fifteen members completing the paperwork to form the new society.

The new rules were approved and the first chair and directors (being the current TomatoesNZ directors) were appointed.

The move to an incorporated society was overwhelmingly supported, with 94 % voting for the resolution to set up the society and adopt the proposed rules and 100% approving the chair and directors’ appointment. The votes cast accounted for 81% of the industry by value.

The incorporation certificate has been received, and we are now asking all fresh tomato growers to join the new society, as membership will not be automatically transferred.   If you are a fresh tomato grower you should have received an application form in the post (that is, if you did not already sign up at conference). You can also sign up online at  If you need a form please get in touch with Lynda Banks on 04 494 9972 or

It is expected that TomatoesNZ Inc. will take over all the business of TomatoesNZ from 1 April next year.


Transform (Sulfoxaflor) - New insecticide for aphids and whitefly  

Thanks to the work of the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) Minor Crops Programme (supported by a number of product groups including TomatoesNZ), Dow have registered this new insecticide for use by a wide range of vegetable crops including indoor tomatoes.

This means it can be used on-label on indoor tomatoes to control whitefly and aphids. The MRL for sulfoxaflor on tomatoes is set at 1.0 mg/kg.

Ben Smith, National Technical Manager for T&G Covered Crops and member of the SFF Minor Crops Programme working group, stressed “it works well, but I strongly urge growers to act responsibly to minimise resistance build up.

We don’t want to have a good tool in year one and have it ruined by over-use use in year two.”

Ben added that there are many options for managing resistance, and they include using Encarsia where it is possible to do so, physical sprays such as Eco Oil or PS1, yellow sticky traps in large numbers as a control, and rotating Transform with insecticides from different groups.

If growers aren’t certain which insecticides are in which groups, the representative from your spray retailer should be able to assist.

This new registration is a breakthrough for covered crops. It has been some time since any new chemistry was registered for greenhouse use. This is becoming an increasing issue as access to older chemistry diminishes. Many years of work, led by Nikki Johnson of Market Access Solutionz, has gone in to identifying appropriate new chemistry from overseas and working with the chemical companies to gain registration. TomatoesNZ thanks Dow for their contribution to the process of getting Transform registered here.


Fresh Tomatoes to be checked for residues

Fresh tomatoes will be included in this round of The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Food Residue Surveillance programme.

The MPI FRSP was established in 2003 to investigate residues and contaminants in food not covered by other major monitoring programmes. It is intended to cover foods sold in the New Zealand domestic market, including imported foods and domestic produce.

The objective is to provide assurance to New Zealand consumers that recent pesticide registrations containing new active ingredients are being used in accordance with good agricultural practices and residues are within set maximum residue limits (MRLs). In addition, the survey aims to provide baseline data on a wide range of pesticides registered for use on fresh and frozen produce sold within New Zealand.

Sampling begins in October and continues through to June 2016, with a total of 60 samples to be taken.


Coco Peat changes to import requirements

Last month MPI made two minor changes to the Import Health Standard for coco peat. The changes included making the autoclaving disinfestation treatment option consistent with that of other growing media (a temperature to 120°C for 30 minutes at 100kPa); and combining three standards for growing media into one new standard: MPI.STD.FERTGRO: Fertilisers and growing media of plant origin.

You shouldn’t notice any difference to your supply, but if you do have any problems, please get in touch.

 “Strawberry Toms” named as finalist in the NZ Food awards

Congratulations and good luck to NZ Hothouse, whose product “Strawberry Toms” has been named a finalist in this year’s NZ Food Awards, in the MPI New Cultivars/ Primary Producers Award category.

Simon Watson of NZ Hothouse said “it’s a great privilege to be named a finalist along with some pretty amazing suppliers and manufacturers.

NZ Hothouse now sells Strawberry Tom in NZ, Australia, Singapore and Japan. We have a number of new markets opening up this summer.”

Other contenders in the category are Apple Slices, Slow-Cooked Hereford Beef, and Vitamin D Mushrooms. The winners will be announced on 17 September.

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