Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit April 2023 Edition

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

Every season has its own flavour

Every season has its own flavor and 2023 is no exception. As we work our way through the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and the effect it had on fruit, we now turn our attention to the effect the recent hailstorm has had on fruit. The hail affected crops we have packed, indicate that our assessment seems about right. Although a number of the damaged fruit has now fallen from the vine, there still seems to be a population sitting in the canopy. The challenge will be keeping this fruit out of the export trays.

The season has started slowly for two reasons:

    1. The revised fruit maturity criteria that was changed at an industry level and Mother Nature’s relentless wet growing season. However, at this stage of the season the site takes on the persona of downtown New York- busy, very busy; as we load the new CA complex and then move to filling the buffer stores.
    2. We are also in the middle of a Zespri trial to see if we can successfully ship G3 in bins to Italy. From there the fruit would flow into one of Zespri’s programs. The initial idea was to send a bin from the orchard directly to our coolstores, then to the ship, with an offshore packhouse handling the fruit in their quiet period. However, due to European importation law, all fruit must be sized before being sent offshore, so a lot more work needs to be done in this space to determine if there is any merit in the idea.

I am hoping we don’t have to deal with any further adverse and damaging weather events as we head into the main pack G3 volumes.

John Lewitt
Head of Operations and Logistics

The season so far and our focuses going forward

Here’s an update of our progress this season and some of our focuses going forward:


  • We have packed over 8 million trays of fruit across all varieties and grow methods.
  • We have completed all of our RubyRed and Sweet Green packing.
  • We have packed almost all of our Hayward KiwiStart volume.
  • Our focus for the next few weeks is on packing SunGold Main Pack fruit.
  • We have started loading our CA Stores and currently have six stores loaded with fruit. We have 12 rooms to fill, and each room will hold 720 bins of SunGold.
  • We have also started loading our bin store rooms, which should be filled with 20,000 bins of SunGold by the end of next week.
  • Our automation equipment is now fully commissioned, and we are packing a good percentage of our bulk packs through this system.
  • Staff numbers this season have remained at close-to-budgeted levels.
  • We have a significant volume of hail affected fruit to work through over the next few weeks, we are fine-tuning our processes to ensure that we can continue to pack in grade, while minimising the impact on our production speeds.
  • Explosive Fruit levels continue to be below 2022 levels, although we are seeing an increase compared with the levels found during SunGold KiwiStart.
  • Physical damage continues to be an issue, with current levels tracking above 2022 levels. Punctures from short stalks in the SunGold variety are contributing to this increased level.

Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

2023 quality assurance update and market feedback

The following is a summary of changes that the Zespri quality assurance team have implemented to rectify the fruit quality issues experienced over the last few years.

There is definitely an increased number of Zespri auditors in the sheds this year, which we welcome, and it’s pleasing to be receiving positive feedback from the markets relating to the quality of the early fruit arrivals. We are off to a great start!

Pranoy Pal
Kiwifruit Technical Manager

‘Scaling up’ the management of scales on the orchard

Scale insects cause cosmetic, superficial damage to the fruit surface and are a quarantine pest in a few countries, causing the fruit to be rejected at the port of entry and affecting grower returns significantly. India, Korea, Thailand, Japan (major), Cambodia, Chile, Mauritius, Taiwan, Indonesia, Mexico, and China are the markets with scale restrictions.

Scale finds at packing have also been on the rise, especially in organic kiwifruit (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Comparison of Gold3 and Hayward KPINs with reported scale detections at New Zealand post-harvest facilities 2016-2022 (adopted from: Knill et al. 2023).

The best way to keep scale numbers in check is to stay on top of them throughout the season.

Kiwifruit orchards are mainly faced with three species of armoured scale insect i.e., greedy scale, latania scale and oleander scale (minority). Armoured scale has a strong, hardened ‘cap’ on its body (Figure 2) and are sap-sucking pests. Greedy scale is indistinguishable from latania scale in field conditions.

Figure 2. Latania scale (left) and Greedy scale (right), adult females one with crawlers, scale cover removed of the adult.

An adult female scale lays a total of 30-120 eggs over a period of two months. Within a few hours, these eggs hatch into active, six-legged crawlers.  The hardened cap is formed from waxy secretions and moulted skin residues that are shed during the three nymphal instars. The cap colour changes during these instars. Adults, once settled, are immobile and continue to develop layers of their caps over time. Scale insects can have two generations per year, with a partial third generation over an extended autumn (Figure 3). Higher humidity conditions in dense canopies are favourable for scale development.

Scales can reside for generations on shelterbelts species such as poplars, Leyland cypress, willows, and pittosporum, and can be dispersed via wind into the orchard block from these shelterbelts and beyond. Scales can also hide in nooks and crannies in the leader (especially in the big old crowns), between the leader and undervine shelter, inside spray guards, and underneath vine tapes because these places offer protection from sprays.

Figure 3 – Scale lifecycle over a season

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Scale

An IPM strategy involves all of the available options to first prevent/supress a pest population below a ‘threshold’ level, followed by using cultural/biological options, with chemical control as the last measure.

Cultural control of scale

  • Remove large complex crowns to remove overwintering sites and improve spray coverage.
  • Consider replacing high-risk shelter with lower risk options or artificial shelter.
  • Minimise fruit that touches older wood in the leader zone on older vines.
  • Nursery plants can also be a source of scale – check these as you bring them onto site and get on top of issues early.
  • Spray susceptible shelter species in the pre-flowering period with systemic insecticides. Keep trimmed and topped.

Chemical control

Two chemical control sprays are allowed in the bud phase, and a further spray is allowed in the postharvest period with a justified approval (JA).

As per 2022, if your KiwiGreen monitoring results for scale were greater than 4% on any block, Zespri will issue an ‘automatic’ Justified Approval (Movento for conventional growers, mineral oil for organic growers) for the whole KPIN (including any other varieties), NOT just the block that exceeded the 4% threshold.

  • To maximise the efficacy of this spray, consider applying Movento (spirotetramat at 960mL/ha) and Du-Wett (40mL/100L) after harvest while leaf condition is good. Adding Kwickin (a penetrant at 250-500mL/100L) to the tank will improve the uptake of Movento into the leaf, therefore improving efficacy. Movento has the best efficacy at a slightly acidic pH. If your water source has a high pH, consider adding Lokit (a pH buffering agent at 125-200mL/100L) to the tank mix.

If your KiwiGreen result did not exceed the 4% threshold, but you have high scale levels at packing, you can still apply a post-harvest Movento or oil, but you will need to apply for a Justified Approval.

Mineral oil (organic growers)

Under the current Crop Protection Standard, organic growers typically apply oil at late dormancy (late August to early September), between bud break and flowering, and in the first two weeks post-fruit set. Note: DO NOT apply oil under slow drying conditions such as cold or overcast weather, or under high humidity conditions.

  • A summer oil spray is allowed for orchards with a high scale population pressure. For Gold3 growers, the application window for summer oil is restricted to the middle two weeks of February.

Postharvest application

A recent report (Hawes 2023) has shown that an oil application in Gold3 fruit immediately postharvest, and prior to August in good drying conditions, does not cause phytotoxicity and reduce the carryover of mature scale population.

  • It is suggested to do a targeted spray of low volumes (900-1000L/ha) of 1% Excel Organic oil to the leaders and trunks only. It is better to avoid spraying onto the canes, as the work needs further assessment.


Further reading

Hawes L, Bong J (2022). Caution advised for winter oils. Kiwifruit Journal, June-July 2022, pp.31-33

Hawes L, Bong J (2023). Post harvest is another window for oil application to target scale. Kiwifruit Journal, April-May 2023, pp.39-41.

Hawes L (2023). Safety of postharvest oil for scale control on organic Gold3 kiwifruit. Zespri Report MA23243.

Knill K, Bong J, Walker M, McKenna C (2023). Post harvest is another window for oil application to target scale. Kiwifruit Journal, April-May 2023, pp.44-47.

Bex Astwood
Organic Category Manager

Organic update

Welcome to the April newsletter! With harvest well underway, here is an update on how we are tracking:

At the time of writing, we have packed almost 40% of our Gold Organic (GAOB) harvest estimate, totalling 5,600 bins or 500,000 trays. The average Class 1 Packout is 87%, with a Count Size of 26, and an average reject rate of 10.3%.

Hayward Organic (HWOB) has been off to a slow start with only 137,000 trays submitted industry wide, verses 678,000 at this time last year. At Trevelyan’s we have packed 10% of our HWOB crop or 26,000 trays. Zespri extended the Week 16/17 Kiwistart rate cut off date from Friday the 28th of April (ISO 17.5) to Sunday the 30th of April (ISO 17.7), which allowed opportunity to pack further HWOB.

In other organic news, the Organic Products and Production Bill passed its 3rd reading on Thursday the 30th of March. The Bill will promote New Zealand’s commitment to high quality organic produce, provide further expansion into international markets, create trading ability, and provide a fair market environment for NZ producers. For consumers, it will provide certainty that products meet a consistent standard, and with the growth of the organics market, a wider range of products.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will continue to work with stakeholders on the regulations that underpin the Act, including a national organic standard and the development of the organic farmer extension programme.

It’s Organic Week Aotearoa from the 1 – 7 May! This is a national campaign designed to share knowledge of organics throughout New Zealand. There are three online webinars titled ‘Transforming Farming in Aotearoa’, ‘A Guide to Organic Living During the Cost-of-Living Crisis’, and ‘An Organic Perspective: A Day of Organic talks’, where you can listen in to the topics that interest you. You can register for these talks here:

Good luck for the remaining harvest, and happy organics week!

Sarah Lei
Head of Sustainability

It’s the little things that count

The former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela, once said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” A similar theory can be applied to sustainability.

When we consider the sheer scale of the environmental challenges we face, it can seem like an impossible mountain to climb, and we can start feeling helpless. The snowball effect describes something that starts small and increases in power and momentum as it grows. As individuals we all have the power to make meaningful sustainable changes, starting with the little things that we do every day.

Last month I wrote about the targets Trevelyan’s has set in relation to our sustainability-linked loan. At Trevelyan’s, we recognise the importance of a collective effort to achieve these targets, and help grow a better future for our people, our environment, and our industry.

1. Waste

Achieving a 10% annual reduction in landfill waste (using 2021 as a baseline), means that we need to reduce our landfill waste by 2.86 tonnes in 2023. This is the equivalent of sending 1-2 less 9m3 skips to landfill this year. We sent 19 skips to landfill in 2021 and 15 in 2022.

We look closely to understand what we are throwing away and seek opportunities to divert this waste to compost or recycling. We ask staff to take home any landfill waste they bring to the site. Ultimately, every item that doesn’t end up in a skip, from label backing to strapping, will help us achieve our goal.

    1. Carbon Emissions

In 2023 we are aiming to achieve at least a 5% reduction in our carbon emissions from fuel, refrigerant losses and electricity per kilotonne of fruit received, using 2021 as a baseline.  In 2021 these emissions were 33.5 T CO2e per kt of fruit received, so we need to reduce by 1.7 T CO2e per kt of fruit received to achieve our target this year.

In 2022 we had a refrigerant leak that significantly increased our carbon emissions, despite our best efforts in monitoring. We have reviewed our current refrigerants to understand how we can reduce the impact of leaks as we continue our monitoring efforts.

We are tracking our fuel use and looking to link it more closely to individual departments and users. This will help people to see the impact of their individual choices and actions on our overall carbon emissions.

Electricity is a significant cost to our business as well as contributing to our carbon emissions. With new Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores coming online this year, we are closely monitoring our electricity consumption to observe these effects. We are looking at load-shedding options for cool stores and encouraging staff to turn off lights and equipment when not in use.

    1. Wellness

Our wellness journey to achieve Bronze, Silver, and now Gold Workwell accreditation has seen us focus on seven different well-being areas as follows:

1. Physical activity

2 .Healthy eating

3. Smokefree

4. Mental health & wellbeing

5. Alcohol & other drugs

6. Sun safety

7. Infection control & immunisation

As with our other targets, each area is broken down into multiple actions. We have run healthy eating workshops, Pilates and yoga classes as well as bootcamps. We have a Pātaka Kai in our canteen where staff can share food. Recently we relocated our smoking area to reduce the effects of second-hand smoke. Poutiri Trust visit every two weeks to offer health checks and vaccinations. These are just a few examples of our offerings to help improve the well-being of our people.

Our staff and suppliers can help a great deal if they understand what we are trying to achieve. We share data on our progress across the organisation every week so everyone can see how their efforts are contributing to the bigger picture.

We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities to help improve our sustainability outcomes. We hope that our staff will take what they have learned and implement it into their daily lives so the snowball effect will grow even bigger.

Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

Inflation- not what we want or need

I write this before our next Directors’ meeting because I leave the country tomorrow and do not return until early May. A break away from the rush and bustle of life is important for everyone and I am ready for mine. I will return well in time for our orchard harvest, as it is important to me to be present on orchard while the picking occurs. This year, more than ever, the quality of our fruit must be foremost of mind. I wrote this time last year about your directors’ concerns about fruit quality being presented to the packhouse. Since then many ‘markers’ have been established within the industry to ensure the overall quality of our fruit presented to market is vastly improved.

A BIG thank you to all growers who have taken action to ensure that Trevelyan fruit quality is the absolute best that it can be.

This growing season has seen frost, weak pollination, rain and more rain, and now for some growers, hail. My thoughts go out to all of those who have suffered hail damage to their crop. TGL have a Hail Top Up Insurance within our Supply Agreement. Once we have more detail and knowledge of the hail damage, (which may take a quantum of time to get), we will be able to do the calculations and advise the effect this weather events has had to all our growers. In the meantime, the Trevelyan Grower Services Team are proactively interacting with all hail affected growers.

It is a lean time for the cashflow of our Green Hayward growers with no payment made in April. That lull is behind us now, so we look forward to a period of good weather for picking.

I was recently reminded that with inflation running as high as it is, one can easily get misled by income figures that are rising but at a lower rate. That effectively means you are going backwards not forwards. Our mindset needs to always factor in the curse of inflation until it is reduced to a much lower figure. A politician recently asked me how inflation could be reduced without pain. My answer was simple – it can only be reduced with pain – not the answer they wanted.

Colin Olesen – Chair

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