Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit August 2022 Edition                                                                                                                                                                  

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

I have written many times now about the industry’s challenge in maintaining quality, as the volume of kiwifruit increases. The five-point industry plan that was adopted pre the 2022 harvest has exposed area’s that need to be improved. There is an ISG discussion paper highlighting areas that will be relooked at. Some of those being, but not solely;

1. The attributes of the protocol A and X fruit.
2. What is the impact that has reduced fruit quality, resulting in the decrease of dry matter from 16.4% to 16.1%.
3. Have we got the right balance between kiwistart and time rates?

I am sure this will result in changes in these areas.

There are three other areas that sit with the onshore supply chain that also need to be addressed.

1. Alternaria,
2. superficial skin rub (SSR) and,
3. physical damage.

Our technical team has provided direction regarding minimising Alternaria. At an industry level, work is being done to understand SSR. Why has it been an issue this year? Then lastly, physical damage, as shown in the photos below. The white lesion is the area where the cells have been crushed. In many cases this area will rot, affecting the surrounding fruit, and resulting in the need to repack an entire pallet.

The above graph shows that over the last three years, the problem is getting worse. We are involved with an industry trial that will help us understand where we need to put our energy to sort this issue out.

With the expected cost of quality being in the order of $2.80 for G3 and $1.95 for HW all those in the supply chain need to do their bit to improve the result.

Trevelyan's News - John Lewitt

Operations Update

John Lewitt
Operations Manager

The last shipments of SunGold to Europe were loaded out in mid-August. The remaining inventory will be shipped by the end of October, with the majority of this fruit destined for the Asian markets. Our onshore fruit loss in both the conventional and organic SunGold categories continues to be significantly lower than the industry average. Our main quality issues continue to be non-pathogenic fungal growth and physical damage rots.

With the Hayward variety, the last shipments to Europe will be at the end of September and the remaining inventory will continue to ship to the Asian markets until the end of November. Our onshore fruit loss of both conventional and organic Hayward categories is tracking below the industry average. Our main quality issues in Hayward are non-pathogenic fungal growth, soft patches, and physical damage rots.

Our automation project on Packing Line 4 is still on track for completion in good time for the 2023 harvest season with the first two containers of equipment due for delivery to our site in early September. The system will allow us to pack most of our bulk- fill volume automatically through automating, the bag inserting, box filling, bag closing, and box closing functions.

We are also on track to have the controlled humidity packing system on the packing line in Packhouse 1 installed prior to the 2023 harvest season. This system will allow us full flexibility to pack bin store or controlled atmosphere fruit in all weather conditions.

Industry Update - Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

Zespri has recently released the first forecast for the year and there are decreases in all pools. It was pleasing to hear the Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson at the Zespri AGM, reinforce that there is still a strong market demand for all fruit groups. However, on orchard, postharvest and freight costs have all increased significantly and this has negatively impacted net returns.

Industry Average August OGR Forecasted Returns

The cost of quality for the season has been forecasted and is expected to be considerably higher again this year. As a result, a programme to review the end-to-end NZ supply chain, quality systems, processes, commercial mechanisms, and agreements has been initiated. The goal is for the industry to work together to reverse the declining quality trend observed over the last five years.

Cost of Quality August Forecast vs Actual 2021 Season

The end-to-end supply chain review – orchard to customer will be a collaborative industry response to address future season quality issues, prevent value erosion, and brand degradation.
The review will take place through the second half of 2022, to identify a course of action through industry discussions.

1. Industry commercial drivers – ensuring these are in the right place for a premium brand.
2. On-orchard – growing and harvesting.
3. Pack-house – systems, processes, and operational controls.
4. Zespri on-shore quality assurance – standards and audit processes
5. Zespri off-shore/in-market – processes and consistency.

Technical Info - Pronoy

Pranoy Pal 
Kiwifruit Technical Manager

What’s happening to fruit quality?

This year has posed to be the worst year in terms of fruit quality, especially for Gold3 kiwifruit. Fruit loss and quality claims have been well above historical averages. The impact on returns is significant, with the quality cost to growers forecast to be $2.80 per tray for conventional Gold3, compared with $1.68 last year (Figure 1). For conventional Hayward, quality costs are expected to be $1.95 per tray, compared with $1.65 last year.

Figure 1. Cost of quality per TE (tray-equivalent) in Gold3 kiwifruit for the 2022 season (taken from Zespri ISG presentation).

Figure 2. Cost of quality per TE (tray-equivalent) in Hayward kiwifruit for the 2022 season (taken from Zespri ISG presentation).

Figures 1 and 2 show that 2022 is the worst year of all so far, the trend of poorer quality fruit outturn has continued to worsen over recent years. Despite the lower OGR’s and the desperation of our growers, this trend may compromise the Zespri brand and customer goodwill. It is therefore urgent to get to the bottom of this issue by performing a Root Cause Analysis across the end-to-end supply chain process to identify failure modes and process gaps and a collaborative industry response is required.

What are the main fruit quality issues being observed?

Among normally found quality issues discussed below, this season, the whole kiwifruit industry is nervous about Non-Pathogenic Fungal Growth (NPFG), Superficial Skin Rub (SSR), and physical damage rots – with some facilities experiencing these problems more than that of others. Moreover, these issues are found to a lesser extent in the organic category than in the conventional.

NPFG – previously known as ‘Alternaria’, this problem starts exhibiting after a few weeks in the coolstore (Figure 1). Black fungal growth can be observed on the fruit surface caused due to fruit juice getting splashed onto healthy fruit. The internal quality of the fruit with NPFG is not affected but is not pleasing to the eye of the consumer. The problem generally remains undetected at the grader. NPFG rates this year are nearly double than the 2021 season.

Figure 1. NPFG observed in Gold3 kiwifruit due to fruit juice as the food source for microbes.

SSR – This issue is being described as a two-part problem; 1) markings similar to what may have been caused due to fruit rolling on the grader for too long – occurring at the waist of the fruit. See Figure 2. The second sub-category of SSR is discoloration of the skin around the lenticels. The actual reason for this issue is currently unknown. Moreover, this SSR is not apparent to the naked eye at the grader and exhibits itself after a few weeks in coolstore (at repack). See Figure 3. The flesh under the skin of these affected fruit does not seem to be affected. While Trevelyan’s has currently seen very little SSR this season, it has been a significant issue for many growers/packhouses. Industry reports that SSR is twice that of 2021 and has a constant trend as we get closer to finishing shipping over the next few months.

Figure 2. Superficial skin rub, sub-category – travel sickness, in Gold3 kiwifruit.

Figure 3. Superficial skin rub in Gold3 kiwifruit.

Rots – there is nothing new to rots as such, but the trend shows a much higher number of rots caused by physical damage (probably due to mishandling at picking and/or packing due to untrained staff during labour shortage, or bunches of low hanging fruit being hit by orchard machinery). These physical-damage rots (much higher than the 2021 season) are different to other commonly found rots such as phomopsis- and sclerotinia-rots.

Figure 4. Rots caused due to physical damage.

‘Exploding softs’ aka explosives – as the name suggests, are over-ripe fruit that was unknowingly picked into the picking bag and had made its way up to the grader. These fruit, once receiving slight pressure, can ‘explode’ in the bin/grader, that can splatter its juice to nearly 20-30 healthy fruit, which then grow NPFG and need to be taken out at repack (thereby slowing down the packing process). Explosives have been a significant fruit loss issue this season.

What could be the reason for these quality issues?

A better understanding of these issues is required and maybe we need to revisit our fundamental knowledge of kiwifruit growing. Following are some questions that I keep pondering.

On-orchard practices

• Cropload and vine stress – It is apparent that we are carrying much higher croploads than those that occurred a decade ago. Higher croploads are obviously putting more ‘pressure’ on the vine’s ability to keep performing. Maybe this continued pressure is causing the vines to ‘stall’ and the vine’s response to this is to ‘shut-down’ earlier than usual, fruit to ripen to attract birds for seed dispersal and eventually drop? Is the vine’s age contributing to this – I am basing this on the fact that several blocks that used to be optimal for KiwiStart have now started moving to early MainPack and eventually MainPack. Moreover, are the increased number of girdles causing the vines to stress?
Spray damage – is there a specific spray (agrichemical, bio stimulant and/or foliar) that is singularly or in combination with a weather condition, causing problems with SSR and a higher number of explosives? Moreover, are the number of sprays causing issues? For instance, we already have some confidence that 2-3 sprays of Benefit Kiwi (fruit sizing bio stimulant) can cause decreased fruit firmness at picking.
Imbalanced nutrient management – have we drifted to too much and too many sources of nitrogen while less focus on essentials such as calcium? Earlier studies (e.g., Vizzotto et al. 1999; Johnson et al. 1997) have shown that higher nitrogen inputs can cause the fruit to soften earlier in storage.
Climate – we know that the weather plays a big role in growing kiwifruit – number of chill hours and the importance of an open canopy for better light penetration are well known. In recent years, both these factors along with increased rainfall (longer wet and dry spells) – have these factors influenced the on-orchard quality in certain ways? Moreover, as a rough observation, I think that not all kiwifruit growing regions experienced the same extent of these quality issues.
Variability – we know that all orchards can have a gradient due to slope, elevation, and closeness to gullies, and shelterbelts. There is block-to-block variability in place and that’s why we have the system of identifying them as a ‘maturity area’ or MA. I wonder if we have altered the variability within an MA to an extent that several vines (and its fruit) within an MA are maturing at a different rate than the other vines. How? Over time, we replace several canes and vines due to dieback and/or poor growth or as a part of orchard management.

Post-harvest practices

Wet fruit packing – due to significantly higher rain this year during the picking season, several postharvest facilities were forced to pack fruit when it was wet or damp. Would it have caused SSR?
Curing duration – curing is the most poorly recorded part of our supply chain. Curing duration differs significantly across postharvest operators. Having controlled vs ambient, curing vs buffer-stored fruit can add on to the complexities of packing and may have influenced fruit quality.

With the above speculations on the reasoning of worsening fruit quality over the years, we will continue to work towards a better understanding of the root cause of these issues – and then find solutions to reduce them. As a start, maybe we need to implement some practical solutions to problems like physical damage caused at picking, by incentivising the picking gangs on quality and/or placing them on hourly rates.

I would like to know your thoughts on these.

Thanks, Pranoy


• Johnson RS, Mitchell FG, Crisosto CH, Olson WH, Costa G (1997). Nitrogen influences kiwifruit storage life. Acta Hort 444:285–289.
• Vizzotto G, Lain O, Costa G (1999) Relationship between nitrogen and fruit quality in kiwifruit. Acta Hort 498:165–172.


Organic Insights

Bex Astwood
Organic Category Manager

Welcome to the August newsletter. As I write this, the sun is out, and it is feeling like Spring.

This month I thought I would touch on the Organic Products Bill.

As discussed in my previous newsletter, the demand for organic products has grown dramatically. Within New Zealand, organic certification can be provided, (Biogrow, Assure Quality) however, there is no regulation within the domestic market. This means there is no national standard for organic products to meet to be marketed as organic, and products do not have to be privately certified. The Organics Products Bill is currently in its second reading to Parliament, and as set out in section 3 the purpose of this Act is to;

(a) increase consumer confidence in purchasing organic products; and
(b) increase certainty for businesses making organic claims; and
(c) facilitate international trade in organic products.

The Bill aims to create consistency for products wanting to make organic claims within the New Zealand organic market, ensuring that claims are not misleading. In terms of exports, the Official Organic Assurance Program currently enables exporter access to specific markets which require assurance. This is a voluntary program; however, trading countries are increasingly expecting comparable standards.

Overall, I consider the Bill will be beneficial to New Zealand. The Bill will state New Zealand’s position on organics – promoting New Zealand’s commitment to high-quality organic produce and allowing this to become a larger part of our identity. It will provide expansion to international markets, create trading ability and provide a fair market environment for New Zealand producers. For consumers, it will provide certainty when purchasing products that they meet a consistent standard, and with the growth of the organics market, a wider range of products.

As organic production continues to expand, this legislation represents an important step forward for the organics market and I look forward to seeing it progress.

A few other points to keep in mind:

– With pollination just around the corner, it’s a good time to make a plan. If you require supplementary pollen let me know, I can provide order forms. Where supplementary pollen has been applied, I can also provide a cover letter for your Biogrow audit.

– The Crop Protection Standard for the 2022-2023 season has been released, and includes a new standard for boundary shelter, with shelter expected along any orchard boundary which borders the land title of a sensitive area and has rows to be sprayed within 30m. Boundary shelter, and progress towards meeting the new standard within three years, will be checked as part of ZespriGAP audits from 2022. A reminder that if you are installing a shelter with tanalised timber posts, market restrictions to North America will apply for three years.

I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming industry events, including the Trevelyan’s Regenerative Horticulture Field Day on Monday, 5th September. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any queries.


Organic Products Bill

Organic Products Bill 2020: Bills Digest 2616

Sarah Lei
Sustainability Manager

2021 Sustainability Report

“Good things come to those who wait”

This year, it seems like everything has taken a bit longer than planned. The season started earlier than usual and finished later as rain affected the last of the harvest.

We have had similar issues with our 2021 Sustainability Report. Despite our best intentions to have everything ready to go early in the year, the collation of the data and the preparation of the report has taken longer than planned.

Regardless of the delays, we are still keen to recognize and celebrate this very significant process which we have been doing each year since 2014. Why is it so important to report on our sustainability performance each year?

  1. Take time to reflect
    The seasonality of the kiwifruit industry means it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment. In writing our sustainability report each year, we take the time to pause and reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well and to celebrate how far we have come on our journey towards a better future.
  2. Set new goals
    The sustainability challenges we face are evolving rapidly. Recent weather events highlight the immediacy and scale of potential climate impacts. By reporting each year we are constantly evolving our strategy and challenging ourselves to keep improving.
  3. Share our journey with our stakeholders
    A lot of the sustainability progress that we have made in the last few years has been thanks to our key stakeholders, our people, and our suppliers. The people who work with us understand our business, they come up with the ideas that help shape our sustainability initiatives and they do the mahi to get the results. We love sharing their stories each year in our Sustainability Report.
  4. Increase transparency, credibility, and accountability
    We work hard to hold ourselves to account. By sharing our sustainability story each year, we’re showing our genuine commitment to understanding and reducing the impact of our activities on the environment and our focus on the responsible use of resources.
  5. Help encourage others on their sustainability journey
    Growing a sustainable business is challenging. There are a lot of systems changes that we must work through which often involve difficult conversations as we make our way along the bumpy road towards a better future. We try hard to support others who also want to make progress in this space. By sharing our journey, we hope they will feel encouraged to keep going even when they hit a bump in the road.

Our 2021 Sustainability Report can be accessed by clicking on the following link and it will also be emailed out to you in the next couple of weeks. I encourage you to read it and if you have any comments or questions, please get in touch

Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

Quality – Where does it start and end?

Your Directors meeting this month covered;

• the current Taste Review and its progress,
• the current repack and loadout activities at the packhouse,
• and important procedural matters.

Industry wide we are struggling with fruit quality issues that have come at us from as far afield as the consumer. We strive to keep bad fruit excluded on orchard, then inspected at the packhouse, with the next check at the wharf, and the next inspection at the destination border, prior to it getting to the retailers and lastly, the consumers. The fact that the consumer is noticing bad fruit is alarming for our Zespri brand.

The absolute best place to start the improvement of fruit quality is right at the very beginning of the journey, and that is on the orchard. All on orchard aspects that could contribute to this deterioration in fruit quality need to be examined. I describe it as there being a need for a cultural change. And that type of change is not easy, as it requires a change in thinking. Even if we believe we are doing things okay I suggest we need to stop, think, and look at possibly better ways of doing the job in hand. People are putting harvesting practices at the forefront here. Yes, that is an important aspect but it is not the only item for attention. I also want to suggest that we do not leave the fruit quality concern to our fellow growers. We all need to own the quality ‘crisis’ and make sure we do our bit to reverse the negative quality trend.

Present research is centred around explosive fruit but there is further research happening too. Please engage with your Growers Services representative on a discussion around what you can do to contribute to the early improvement in fruit quality that is needed – early means for the coming crop.

Nominations will soon be called for three Grower Director positions on the TGL Board. We have nine Grower Directors and three of the nine retire each year, but they can stand for re-election. This year Jeff Roderick, Terry Newlands, and Steve Wright complete their three – year term. A formal notice will soon be issued outlining the situation more thoroughly and the timeline for the election process. Now is the time to start thinking about these elections.

Spring is in the air. Enjoy!

Colin Olesen – Chair


Your help is needed.

We are currently reviewing the Trevelyan’s Growers Portal.
Currently, the Growers Portal provides our growers with 24/7, private and personalised information, alongside, great resources and technical advice that is housed conveniently all in one place.

We ask that you please take a moment to answer six questions pertaining to the Growers Portal- your help will provide us with valuable information, so that we can ultimately provide a superior customer service experience.