Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit April 2022 Edition

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

What Is The Plan?

About five years ago Zespri increased the volume of G3 licences that was to be released per year. On the back of the increased release, industry discussions began on how to process the ensuing volumes and the cost to do so.

Shortly after those discussions, a 10 year working group was formed to navigate the inevitable bumps in the road. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough collective will in the post-harvest industry to achieve any outcomes from the group. Consequently, this group never gained any traction. What it needed was a global pandemic, a lack of labour and the ever-increasing volumes of G3 fruit to bring post-harvest back to the table.

There were many smart minds around that table, including some very new faces to Zespri. From those discussions, and no doubt many others behind the scenes, Zespri gave birth to the five-point plan:

  1. Procure more fruit in the KiwiStart period.
  2. Shift to packing a greater volume of fruit into bulk packs, which require less labour.
  3. Reduce any obstacles in the maturity criteria to prevent harvest.
  4. Move size 39 to non-standard supply.
  5. Endeavour to bring shipping forward to reduce pressure on cool storage.

Due to the action items above, to date we have been able to pack approximately 2.5 million trays more of G3 compared to the same time last year. In a pandemic, when we have had up to 295 people away per day sick with Covid-19, credit needs to go to all those that contributed to the plan. There were a few days at the start of the season when there was not a lot of staff in the packhouse and it looked like it was going to be a big mountain to climb. As I sit here now with 50% of the Gold harvested, it all looks very manageable. Every problem needs a home. Once it has a home, a plan can be developed and there is nothing like having a plan.

Trevelyan News Feb 2022

Operations Update

John Lewitt
Operations Manager

We have now packed almost 50% of our SunGold Conventional and SunGold Organic crops. We have also packed over 20% of our Hayward Conventional and Hayward Organic crops. We have completed packing both our RubyRed and Sweet Green varieties and all this fruit has also been shipped to the markets.

As we enter the peak of mainpack SunGold, we will put the volume of fruit picked that is in excess of our daily production capacity into our bin store coolstores. This fruit will then be packed out in the period between the end of SunGold mainpack and the start of Hayward mainpack. This allows us to pick the fruit at its optimum maturity and gives our staff continuity of work during a period in the season where they would otherwise not be working as we wait for Hayward mainpack fruit clearances.

We have seen an increase in the number and frequency of lines of SunGold fruit that contain explosive softs. While it may appear to be a small volume as a percentage of the total fruit in a bin, even one explosive per bin has a significant impact on production speeds. We have to stop the line for at least 15 seconds to clear away the exploded fruit and all the surrounding fruit that has been contaminated with juice from this exploded fruit. We must also clean the belts to ensure no further fruit is contaminated with juice. The reason we do this is because the juice on the skin of the fruit turns black in the coolstore and is then classified as a reject.  We estimate that for every explosive fruit in a bin, a grower loses 15 good fruit because of juice contamination. A line of fruit with one explosive per bin will result in fruit loss of half a tray per bin just because of that one fruit. We are also seeing explosive softs in the Hayward variety, but at a lower level compared to the SunGold.

Labour supply has improved in recent weeks as we have come out the other side of the Omicron wave. However, we are still short of labour and continue to operate with four day and four night shifts working six days a week, rather than the five day and five night shifts we have historically operated with. Despite these staff shortages and the numerous other challenges a kiwifruit season brings, our staff continue to do a fantastic job of packing, storing and shipping our fruit.


Debbie Robinson
Supply Manager

 ECPI Checking Results YTD

Zespri ECPI checks are when fruit is checked just prior to loading. When a facility goes on hold it is due to the number of defects found ECPI tray checks that exceed an Industry agreed threshold. When a facility is placed on hold they are unable to load any more fruit to the wharf until corrective action has been taken.

Facility holds are split into packing defect and storage defects. For packing, the holds have largely been due to blemish, missing fruit labels, non-pathogenic fungal growth, (Alternaria), flesh damage and missing fruit. The holds for storage have been due to isolated incidences of excessive soft and over-ripe fruit, with one hold for the season to date.

Absenteeism’s due to Covid-19 has resulted in low staffing across the Industry and it has been an extremely challenging start to the season. Judging by the number of Industry holds shown in the following graph, 2022 has not started well, although undoubtedly this has not been helped by low staff numbers. Let’s hope the Industry holds reduce now staffing numbers are starting to improve.

The following graph show the number of pallet failures and facility holds up until week 14.

Zespri Producer Vote 2022

Zespri has been talking with growers over March and April about the potential expansion of Northern Hemisphere fruit production of SunGold.  They explained that they have recently established a strategy to grow more fruit and supply more markets in the New Zealand off-season.  The aim is to have Zespri branded kiwifruit available to consumers all year round, using fruit grown in the Northern Hemisphere when NZ fruit is not available.  Zespri has been seeking grower views on the expansion strategy and the potential for a Producer Vote in August 2022 that would allow expansion to take place (production in China and Chile is excluded).  A website has been published to provide growers with information on Northern Hemisphere production and to explain the strategy.  The website also includes performance information for Northern Hemisphere production and a series of short videos from Italian growers showing their SunGold orchards.

Gordon Skipage
Head of Technical

Where Are All Our Explosive Fruit Coming From?

The phenomenon of explosive Gold3 fruit has been an ongoing issue since the early days of commercialisation. There are many theories as to why they occur and Trevelyan’s has been working with Zespri in an effort to understand the cause. As yet, we don’t have any firm answers but we do know “early season” explosives are often preceded by shrivelled fruit stalks (Figures 1 and 2).











Figure 1. Shrivelled stalk on Gold3 block










Figure 2. Shrivelled stalks identified on Gold3 spur

Gold3 explosives weren’t too much of an issue in the early days of commercialisation as volumes were low and production capacity wasn’t overly stretched. At Trevelyan’s, we really started seeing an issue in the 2017 and 2018 seasons where contractors reported fruit “exploding” in the orchard as it was being harvested. Since 2019 our Operations Team have been recording the levels of explosives found at the bin tip, allowing us to compare season to season. The data suggests that explosive levels were comparatively low in the 2019 and 2020 seasons before increasing in 2021 – a trend confirmed by our harvest contractors.

The 2022 season to date appears to be a different prospect, with levels recorded much higher than seen in the previous three years. The Gold3 data (Figure 3) suggests that 63% of all pack runs packed in ISO Week 15 had more than one explosive every two bins, with the average for the week being 1.07 explosive fruit/bin. At this level there is significant cost to the grower as each explosive fruit contaminates 20-30 otherwise “sound” fruit with pulp/juice. If these 20-30 fruit are not removed, the juice provides an excellent food source for “non-pathogenic fungal growth” (Alternaria) which occurs soon after packing – resulting in repacking and increased fruit loss. A quick calculation of one explosive fruit/bin in a Gold3 block producing 15,000 te/ha indicates it will cost the grower approximately $1200/ha in lost earnings – this does not include the additional charges of picking, transport, reject and packing charges. A poor orchard may be costing the grower in excess of $6000/ha.









Figure 3. Gold3 explosive pack run data at bin tip (≥0.5 explosives/bin)

Alarmingly, it appears the explosive Gold3 trend is also occurring in Hayward this season. Our records at bin tip suggest that explosive levels found in the early Hayward KiwiStart weeks are significantly higher this season compared to previous years (Figure 4).









Figure 4. HW explosive pack run data at bin tip (≥0.5 explosives/bin)

But what can you do as a grower? Simply put, try to ensure they don’t end up in a picking bin. My suggestions to reduce the impact include:

  • Try to maintain open/light canopies through the growing season.
  • Walk the orchard – look for shrivelled stalks (particularly in dense/shaded areas of the block).
  • Shake the vines, or run the sprayer through prior to harvesting – the aim here is to drop them on the ground.
  • Talk with your harvest contractor – blocks identified with high levels of explosives should be picked on hourly rates to ensure the pickers slow down and work to remove the soft/explosive fruit.
  • Employ a bin supervisor whose task is to identify and remove soft/explosive fruit in the picking bin as it is being filled.

Zespri have re-released a short video here on how to reduce the impact of soft fruit at harvest.

What To Spray After Harvest?

Psa management is always the most critical consideration after harvest and should be front of mind when making post-harvest spray decisions.

Psa Control

Autumn is considered a peak Psa infection period due to the number of fruit stalk and leaf scar wounds, warm temperatures, and increased rainfall.

Growers should apply copper immediately after harvest to protect picking scars. To maintain leaf condition, I suggest applying summer rates of copper through the KiwiStart and early mainpack periods, moving to winter rates as you see a natural deterioration of leaf condition.

Adding Actigard (and a superspreader such as DuWett/HyWett) to the copper application will give added protection if the leaves are still in good condition. Actigard takes four to seven days to fully protect the plant, but then gives an additional three weeks of Psa protection – useful as we enter the leaf fall stage. While it is a powerful tool, caution should always be applied when using Actigard – do not apply to plants that are stressed due to drought, excessive moisture, wind, cold (including frost), heavy cropping or disease.

More information on the post-harvest use of Actigard can be found at

KiwiVax remains an option for both conventional and organic growers who want to try an alternative approach to managing Psa. KiwiVax is a soil-applied root drench that has proven efficacy against Psa by building microbial “community” in and around the rootzone of the vine. Follow the label applying at 200g/ha in at least 1000L water but use as much water as required to ensure KiwiVax is washed below the surface and into the rootzone.

Growers that use this product report great results but it is not a “quick fix” due to the nature of the product (i.e. improving the health of the root zone). It is more of a “slow burn” which may take a year or two of regular applications to really prove its worth.

For more information on KiwiVax, refer to the website

Post-Harvest Scale

Once packing is complete, I highly recommend reviewing your packout report with your Grower Services Representative to identify if any pest issues (such as scale) were experienced.

If scale proved to be an issue (and if your leaves are still in reasonable condition), an application of Movento (960ml/ha) and DuWett (40ml/100L) will help control overwintering scale, reducing the first generation of scale experienced in spring. Adding the penetrant Kwicken (250ml – 500ml/100L) to this post-harvest application will improve the uptake of Movento and therefore further improve control.

If you had a KiwiGreen scale result at/above 4% on any block on the KPIN, Zespri will automatically approve the post-harvest Movento application (no need for a JA). If scale wasn’t a problem when your KiwiGreen monitor was taken (i.e. results were less than 4%), but your packout was poor, simply apply for a JA to apply the post-harvest Movento.

Do not apply Movento within five days of copper or you risk drawing copper into the leaves which may result in damage at a time when we’re trying to maximise leaf condition for overwintering reserves.

You’ll also need at least one other application of a scale spray prior to flowering – refer to Trevelyan’s Spray Guides or Zespri Crop Protection Standard (CPS) for options.

Organic growers who have experienced high scale at harvest may choose to apply two organic oil applications through the post-harvest/dormancy periods – one soon after harvest and one in late August. The post-harvest application of organic oil requires a JA as oil is currently not allowed in the post-harvest period of the CPS. Caution must be adhered to if spraying oil during winter, as mineral oil has been known to affect winter buds due to slow drying times.

Plant Health Following Harvest

There is often debate about the worth of applying post-harvest nutrition applications. Some growers like to apply nitrogen and micronutrients (i.e. Low Biuret Urea plus Bud-Wiser) to improve budbreak and return bloom the following season. While this practice is common in the apple industry, there isn’t a lot of solid science to support the practice in kiwifruit. William Max (Zespri Global Extension Team) disputes the need for this practice, describing results of Zespri and Plant and Food trials as follows: “applying post-harvest foliar urea does not increase flower numbers in the following season and is unlikely to generate any improvements for kiwifruit production if nutrients are within medium ranges.” (Zespri Feb/Mar 2021 KFJ – The worth of late-season foliar nitrogen – William J Max).










Figure 5. Pre-thinning components of yield assessment measured October 2020. There is no statistically significant differences between values for different treatments (table courtesy of Zespri Feb/Mar Kiwifruit Journal – The worth of late-season foliar nitrogen – William J Max).

We know that new spring growth is a “drain” on the vine’s resources for about the first 40 days after budbreak. After that the leaf is large enough to start contributing to the plant’s reserves (via photosynthesis) rather than draining them. During early spring therefore, the vine is reliant on carbohydrate reserves stored in the root zone from last summer/autumn. For orchards that are showing signs of stress, there remains an argument to apply post-harvest foliar nutrition as building reserves now may assist in the vine’s ability to retain higher flower numbers in spring. To do this, we need the plant to be photosynthesising, and ensuring good leaf condition is key to maximising the rate of photosynthesis. I adhere to the notion of the healthier the leaf, the better the rate of photosynthesis, therefore the more efficient the plant will be at storing overwinter reserves.

Dave Parson

Dave Parsons
Grower Services Manager

Something For Everyone…

Greetings to you all, and I hope your week is going well. This month I will take a brief look at the season so far, how to interpret your Hayward Organic (HWOB) Zespri Maturity Clearance System (MCS) results (as promised), as well as a farewell to our Certified Organic Kiwifruit Association (COKA) Executive Vice Chairman Mark White.

At the time of writing, we had picked 45% of our Gold Organic (GAOB) maturity areas, totaling 6100 bins or 480,000 trays. The average production is 11,368 trays/ha, with a count size of 27.4 and an average reject rate of 9.5%, which mirrors our 2020 harvest in all respects.

Wednesday the 13th of April saw our first HWOB clearance issued for an orchard in the Omokoroa area, with other orchards expected to clear in the next few days.

Now for a quick look at how to interpret your MCS results, with thanks to Gordon Skipage (Trevelyan’s Head of Technical) for the use of his Hayward Organic (HWOB) Clearance Criteria Chart, as shown below.






During the KiwiStart protocol period your Maturity Area (MA) needs to pass three criteria to obtain a clearance:

1). A brix fractile of greater than or equal to 4.7°. Brix is a measure of the Soluble Solids Concentration (SSC) or sugars within the fruit and is the value of the third lowest fruit in your 90-fruit sample.

2). The dry matter threshold needs to be greater than or equal to 15.9%.

3). Black seeds equal to or greater than 97%.

Below is a snip from the front page of the MCS results page which you can access from the Zespri Canopy website. Reading from left to right it gives the sample collection date, number, type of clearance test, and then the three maturity criteria will either have a green box (indicating a pass) or a red box (indicating a fail).






On the extreme right-hand side of the report are three dots. If you hold your cursor over these you can access a more comprehensive five-page report by clicking on ‘View Sample Report’ as shown below.






The mainpack protocol moves to a mean (or average) brix of 6.2° or above, with a Minimum Taste Standard (MTS) greater than or equal to 15.5% and removal of black seeds as a clearance criterion.

A couple of other important things to remember are:

  • Once an MA has a clearance issued for either KiwiStart or mainpack, it can’t subsequently fail a retest for the same criteria. An example would be if your first test passed all criteria and a subsequent test failed for seeds, then the results from the first test would be inherited into the subsequent test to create a pass.
  • For the above to work you must firstly have a complete pass. You can’t mix and match results from failed tests to form a composite pass.
  • Irrespective of whether you pass or fail a clearance sample, you will be paid on your highest dry matter result, but your crop will be packed on your latest test result.

Finally, Mark White has resigned as Vice Chairman of the COKA Executive. He joined the Executive Committee in 2016 and was Vice Chair for over five years. An indication of his commitment to the role was that he used to travel from Opotiki to attend monthly meetings, a 260km round trip.

Mark and his wife, Catriona, have been supplying Trevelyan’s with a mix of organic HW, GA and recently RS fruit for almost 10 years and has been a staunch and valued advocate for organic growers within the industry. On speaking to him he rates some of his achievements as being involved in the development of Zespri’s organic strategies, creation of the Zespri GAOB grower payment pool and most recently being involved with submissions to government in relation to the proposed national organic standards and regulations.

He intends to use his newly found spare time developing his 10ha+ orchard and advocating on behalf of his fellow Tablelands growers in relation to water issues. Mark kindly supplied the photograph below which shows him (second from the right) with his family and Climate Change Minister the Hon. James Shaw on a recent visit to his orchard. So, a big thank you Mark for your service to the OB category and to your family for allowing you the time to participate!














Thanks to all our growers for your continued support.


Sarah Lei
Sustainability Manager

Tracking Our Waste

Last month’s sustainability article talked about the importance of taking a frugal approach to reduce resource use and waste generation.  At Trevelyan’s, we have set ourselves a goal to reach zero waste to landfill by 2030.  While that might still seem like a long way off, we recognise the need to keep taking small steps in the right direction.  Reflecting back on how far we have come on this journey in the last few years helps motivate us to keep moving forward.

Historical Waste Data

The last couple of years have been particularly challenging as Covid requirements have seen increased PPE use across our site and made recycling more difficult.  We packed a similar quantity of fruit in 2019 and 2020 but in 2021 the number of trays packed increased by 20%.  This also made it more challenging to manage our waste.

Last year we took a big chunk out of our waste to landfill by starting to recycle black polypropylene strapping and EAN label backing.  These initiatives saw nearly 10 tonnes less waste end up in our skip.  Our total waste per tray in 2021 was 17.8g which was lower than both the previous years, as was our waste to landfill at 1.6g per tray.


What Are We Doing This Year To Help Reduce Our Waste?

  • Working closely with our suppliers to help them understand the impacts their decisions can have on our waste.
  • Chipping and recycling green PET strapping which comes around the packaging supplied by OJI – approximately two tonnes per year.
  • Trialling a different trim design for ITs to reduce the quantity of trim collected as waste.
  • Returning used hairnets and masks to our supplier Bay Direct for recycling through the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme. The 2022 season has seen another big jump in PPE use with increased requirements for masks and gloves.
  • Trialling reusable hairnets from Little Yellow Bird.
  • Using custom-made screens to separate floor sweepings into compostable (dust, cardboard trim, stalks) and non-compostable (fruit stickers, ripped liners, strapping pieces). A sample provided 3.15kg of compostable material contaminated with 0.1kg of non-compostable plastics.
  • Standardised and improved bin labelling system to help staff put waste in the correct bins.

A key part of this process is the measurement and tracking of our waste so that we can see the impact of any changes we make.






What Changes Will Impact Our Waste In The Future?

  • The NZ Government has banned the use of non-compostable fruit stickers by 2023.
  • A new law banning plastic packaging on most fruit and vegetables (including fruit stickers) came into effect in France from 1st January 2022. Flanders in Belgium have also banned non-compostable fruit labels.
  • Increased automation to help alleviate labour shortages may require packaging changes.
  • Zespri’s packaging targets for 2025: Our packaging will be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable and if we use plastic packaging, it will be made from at least 30% recycled plastic.

The systems we have established over the last few years at Trevelyan’s for separating, measuring and recycling our waste have set us up well for the future.  We will be able to adapt readily to any new initiatives and measure the impact of any changes we make.


Colin Olesen
TGL Chair


It is that time of year when we welcome all growers who are packing their fruit with Trevelyan’s for the first time. You are a part of what we call the Trevelyan’s grower family and you have an important contribution to make to the development of our grower collective.

Your Directors met earlier in the month and I want to focus on the subject of harvesting fruit which consumed a large proportion of that meeting. Already this season, we are seeing very concerning trends in physical damage, picking practices, and explosives at the packhouse bin tip.

Some years back we faced similar concerns, which appeared to diminish in more recent years. But this year these same issues have reared their head in a material manner. Your Directors are collectively of the opinion that change is required, but desire for any change to be based upon facts and measurements. The raw fact is that there are presently costs being incurred that with better management and practices, need not be incurred by growers. The question is how can we ensure these costs are sheeted back, as near as possible, to the growers that present fruit in a less than ideal manner?

Physical damage can be incurred before harvest and also during harvest. Our picking audit mechanism is a penalty regime but it appears it may be subject to manipulation – in other words, bad practices stop when the Auditor arrives and recommence when the Auditor leaves.

We know, by the records we have, who our excellent harvest contractors are. We therefore know who our preferred harvest contractors are. If harvesting is not performed at an optimum level then the pool, and thus all mainpack growers, share that cost. Should, therefore, our pooling system separate between ‘Trevelyan’s-approved harvest contractors’ and those who use other harvest arrangements? Directors would welcome your thoughts on that question.

The season’s harvest fruit flow to date has meant that we are well on track to complete fruit packing in a timely way. That means that fruit is harvested at optimum maturity for best storage outcomes. That is the best possible way to ensure the Zespri brand is protected and enhanced in market, something that we should always keep at the forefront of our minds and decisions for the future of our great industry.

I have this month had the unenjoyable experience of Covid-19. I am now able to look at the upside as I progressively recover back to my full self. May you each experience good health through harvest.

Colin Olesen – Chair

Staff Introductions

Fern Gibson

What is your role and how long have you worked at Trevelyan’s?

Facilities Manager, started late March.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Trevelyan’s?

I really enjoy working with people from all over the world.

What are your main interests/hobbies outside of work?

Surfing, snowboarding and travelling if we are ever allowed again. Also fishing when there are no waves.

What would you like people to know about you?

I love solving problems and finding solutions. I’m always happy to bounce ideas around to figure it out.

Laura Schultz

What is your role and how long have you worked at Trevelyan’s?

My role is an Avocado Grower Representative and I have worked at Trevelyan’s seasonally in the past. I’ve been in this role for four weeks.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Trevelyan’s?

The people, getting to work with growers and shared values.

What are your main interests/hobbies outside of work?

If I’m not in the avocado orchard with my dog, I like to be doing something active like squash, snowboarding or hiking. Also spending time with family and friends with good food.

Darren Ward

What is your role and how long have you worked at Trevelyan’s?

I started as Continuous Improvement Manager on 21st March.  Prior to this appointment I have been working as a consultant helping BOP manufacturing companies implement Lean practices and working with teams within these companies on a range of improvement projects aimed at improving flow, throughput and training/upskilling team members in Continuous Improvement principles and methodologies.  I started my career as an apprentice in engineering maintenance and have been fortunate to work in a variety of different manufacturing environments.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Trevelyan’s?

All of the people that I’ve interacted with have been great, approachable, friendly, and willing to share their challenges and ideas. The company leadership is strongly committed to continuous improvement and there has been some great work already done. I am feeling well-supported in this new role and am looking forward to engaging with the various teams to drive and support improvements.  From my perspective there’s a huge amount of learning to be done about the industry and the complexity of packhouse operations so I’m enjoying this new challenge in my career.

What are your main interests/hobbies outside of work?

My time outside of work is spent with family. I’ve two teenage sons and both have started apprenticeships which is great. The youngest lad is into hunting and the eldest is into motocross racing so at the weekends I’m either in the bush or spinning the wrenches at the track. I enjoy reading, learning and watching a good movie with my wife, Karen, who works in the finance team.

What would you like people to know about you?

I’m originally from Northern Ireland and have lived in NZ for around 16 years.

I like to think of myself as an approachable, friendly person. I like to listen and learn so if you see me around please say hello!  I’ll be spending a good portion of my first three months getting my head around the system and how it works, observing, listening and asking lots of questions in order to understand the key areas that if improved will have the most positive impact. If you have questions about continuous improvement or have ideas on how to make things better, then I’m really keen to chat.