Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit July 2022 Edition

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

Fluid times

I have never known such fluid times, as the Reserve Bank turns the dial one more notch to endeavour to cool rising inflation. (I am yet to see the effect on the internet shopping coming in our front door at home!) Case in point has been the ongoing construction of our coolstores that we commenced last year for the season gone, and still unfinished.

The build was always going to be tight. When I met the project manager who was driving from the other side of Hamilton every day, I was a little nervous. It was not long after we had started the build, that he announced that he would not be able to deliver all the coolstore rooms in time for the season. Immediately, we started looking for offsite coolstores, to fill the void, and to our relief, we managed to obtain cool storage on the other side of Tauranga. Shortly after, we then got further news, (from what was now our third project manager) that they possibly could not deliver any coolstore rooms for the season. Thankfully, we had decided to take out an advance shipping contract with Zespri, as insurance for further changes. In late May, the contractor was able to complete three of the fifteen coolstore rooms which gave us enough space to store all the fruit.

The change to our normal construction programs has seen construction time and expenses double over the last three years. Where is all the money going?

This situation is typical of all areas of business at present. We however continue to invest in humidity-controlled packing and automating line 4 and hope that Putin’s behaviour improves, the temperatures in Europe subside and Xi Jinping loses interest in a holiday home in Taiwan. Despite all the uncertainties the fruit quality coming out of storage is currently looking ok.

Lastly, the conversation around exploding fruit continues. Zespri reports significantly higher levels of Non-Pathogenic Fungal Growth (or Alternaria) are being found across industry at ECPI and in-market. This has been attributed to higher levels of explosive fruit at harvest/packing. To assist growers to understand the levels found in their harvest bins, we will be re-issuing End of Season Packout Reports next week to include information on the number of explosives found at packing for the KPIN.

Trevelyan's News - John Lewitt

Operations Update

John Lewitt
Operations Manager

We are now well underway with the kiwifruit coolstore season. With the SunGold variety, we have shipped 73% of our conventional fruit and 78% of our organic fruit. With the Hayward variety, we have shipped 57% of our conventional fruit and 58% of our organic fruit. Global supply chains are still significantly disrupted, and shipping delays continue to be a challenge this season. Despite these delays, we expect the last of our SunGold to be shipped by the middle of October and the last of our Hayward to be shipped by the middle of November.

It has been a challenging season quality-wise for the industry, particularly with the SunGold variety. Relative to the industry, our SunGold fruit is storing well and as a result, our fruit loss is significantly lower than the industry average for both conventionally and organically grown fruit. The main quality issues we are seeing when inspecting SunGold are non-pathogenic fungal growth and overripe fruit. In addition to these defects, the industry is also experiencing major issues with superficial skin rub. At an industry level, the key focus is trying to understand what is causing the fruit to be susceptible to this defect, so we can avoid this occurring in future seasons. Trevelyan’s is experiencing this same issue on the odd grower line, but not to the same extent as the wider industry.

Our Hayward fruit is also performing well, with our fruit loss lower than the industry average for both conventionally and organically grown fruit. The main quality issues when inspecting our Hayward fruit are predominantly softs and overripe fruit in the smaller sizes.

Our pre-season preparation is well underway for the upcoming avocado packing season with the packing line serviced, cleaned, and converted from the kiwifruit set-up to an avocado set-up. We predict that we will be underway with our export avocado packing with small volumes in mid-August.

Industry Update - Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

Fruit Quality Tactical Action Plan

There have been declining quality trends observed at ECPI over several seasons and negative feedback from the markets, that have received fruit of poor quality this season. This is now significantly impacting customer goodwill and brand equity.

Zespri, after discussions with the industry recently introduced a new fruit quality tactical action plan that was implemented on Monday, 4 July 2022, in an attempt to improve the quality of fruit arriving in markets.

The plan consists of the following:
• Focus on rots and minor and major storage defects (includes NPFG).
• Sending failed pallets back to the original facilities.
• When a facility is on coolstore hold – the facility cannot load out fruit until the
Zespri Quality Management Response Team, which is comprised of a senior representative from Zespri quality, Zespri technical, and the facilities assigned Zespri quality assessor, who undertake a comprehensive facility quality management system investigation and agree that appropriate corrective and preventative actions have been taken before the facility coolstore hold can be lifted.
• Increased percentage of containers for higher risk markets being audited by the Zespri quality assessment team.

Is it Working?

The fruit quality tactical action plan has been in place for a couple of weeks now and the results shown in the following graph are encouraging. GA data is showing an increase of over 10% in the last two weeks for the proportion of pallets passing for storage at ECPI.

For HW, no significant change has been seen in the trends yet towards better performance for passed pallets, but some suppliers have indicated that the focus has largely been on GA repacking as the quality issues are not as pronounced in HW.

Supply Impact to Date

The supply chain impact to date has been manageable, with no significant shortages or shipments being delayed or missed. Where suppliers have shorted orders due to coolstore holds or capacity issues, other suppliers have been able to pick these up in most instances.

Official Supply Estimate (OSE) Revision

Due to Industry efforts to keep fruit loss on shore and protect the brand, Zespri are expecting the fruit loss estimate for GA CK to increase from 1.39% in the June OSE to 4.54% (reduction in FOBS of 3.5m trays) and for HW CK to increase from 1.73% in the June OSE to 3.54% (reduction of 1m trays).

Due to the projected reduced crop, Zespri are looking closely at market allocations to ensure maximise market returns and grower OGR’s are achieved.

Technical Info - Pronoy

Pranoy Pal 
Kiwifruit Technical Manager

Budbreak is here

Its timely to say that days remaining for natural budbreak in our sleeping kiwifruit vines is not far away. Red19 growers have already sprayed their blocks with a budbreak enhancer with Gold3 and Hayward queuing up in the near future. Following harvest, the lower temperatures and shorter day length of autumn and early winter signals the vine for the onset of dormancy. Dormancy causes reduced physiological processes such as decreased respiration, disruption of transport into the bud, and increased bud sugar concentrations. Physiologically, the onset of budbreak is signalled by stimulating respiration, stimulated inorganic nitrogen metabolism and increased synthesis of gibberellins (plant hormones). The cold temperatures aka ‘chill units’ is what lets the buds decide on how long to remain dormant during winter. Changes in chill unit across seasons can have profuse effects on the vine’s signal to budbreak. Generally, if the winters are colder, budbreak will be advanced, however, if temperatures remain low in the weeks immediately before budbreak, then the start of budbreak will be delayed and varied. Refer to our previous TechTip (dated 12 July) to read more about regional chill units – current and historical.

This is where budbreak enhancers (BBEs) such as hydrogen cyanamide (HC), comes into the picture. BBEs can increase the number of flowers per shoot and synchronize flowering. As a secondary effect, some BBEs such as HC can reduce unwanted lateral flowers, which reduces thinning costs and increases the average size of the fruit produced.

Mode of action – hydrogen cyanamide

A literature review on the mode of action of HC at a gene and transcript level shows that HC exerts a response to stress, detoxification, and/or reactivation of growth. Without being too technical, the (most probable) mode of action of HC works by altering the regulation of a protein called ‘glutathione S-transferase’ that plays a major role in moderating a wide variety of growth and stress phytohormones (such as auxins, cytokinins, methyl jasmonate, salicylic acid, and abscisic acid). Related research (Sudawan et al. 2016) done on grapes showed a comparison of HC-only and pruning-and-HC treatments. The authors observed 53 and 95% budbreak, respectively, in those treatments – further emphasising that moderating stress can work wonders when it comes to budbreak. In our kiwifruit production systems, apart from budbreak response, we are already ‘moderating stress’ to improvise our fruit quality by girdling (‘wounding stress’), the use of reflective cloth (‘radiation stress’) and certain orchard management techniques (discussed in later sections below).

Decades of using HC and comparison to the available BBE alternatives has shown that HC is a far more efficacious product and has a relatively broad window of use. Alternative BBEs appear to have a narrower window of application than HC. The optimum time of application of BBEs is dependent on the physiological stage of the vine, it is therefore harder to get the timing right with alternative BBEs – resulting in a higher frequency of poor results. The alternative BBEs also tend to be less efficacious in warmer regions, which are those regions’ most in need of a BBE. They are also generally less efficacious in the Hayward variety which performs extremely poorly in the absence of HC.

Safety around the use of hydrogen cyanamide

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering the reassessment of HC due to its provocation and concerns about its environmental and human safety aspects. In the event of HC being phased out of New Zealand markets, it is important to find an alternative BBE that is equally effective as HC while being softer to the environment. More information on the reassessment can be found here.

With the heightened sensitivity towards HC in recent times, it is important that we remember our obligations on how to use it correctly and in a manner that does not impact our community. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) Air Plan (Plan Change 13) states:
• Spray plans are compulsory – consider how you manage sensitive areas.
• Notification is required for properties within 50 m of the target area.
– Bay of Plenty growers are required to give this notification no earlier than 72 hrs and no later than 12 hrs before spraying OR according to a notification agreement with the occupier.
– Gisborne growers are required to give at least 8 hrs’ notice, no more than 4 weeks beforehand which gives them plenty of time to move pets, stock, playground equipment or bring in their washing, etc.
• The person carrying out the spraying must confirm that notification requirements have been met before spraying takes place.
• Signage is required at the entry to the property which must be removed within five days of spraying.

Other industry best practice suggestions include:

• Be extra cautious around sensitive areas such as parks, playgrounds, schools, roads, waterways, etc.
• Check your sprayer pattern with water only before you spray HC.
– HC efficacy requires the spray to visibly project droplets about one metre above the target canopy – you may need to reduce the sprayer pressure if your spray pattern is higher than this.
– Use water sensitive papers, if possible, to measure/ensure spray coverage.
• Use the correct HC product rate – the industry typically uses 6L/100L of product in 500-700L water per hectare.
• You must use a drift reducing adjuvant (i.e., DriftStop/Sure-Cane) – typically @ 100-200ml/100L (higher rates around sensitive areas or where you want to reduce drift further).
• You must use Air Inclusion (AI) nozzles.
• Do not spray when the wind is blowing above 20km/hr (or a light “rustling” in tree leaves).
• Do not re-enter the orchard for 5 days after the application and do not apply HC within 7 days of copper.

Alternative budbreak enhancer products

Zespri recently conducted a ‘alternatives to HiCane forum’ (recording found here) that showed the efficacy of the alternative BBEs used by some of the growers across the regions. Five alternative budbreak enhancers are available to kiwifruit growers in New Zealand and allowed for use as per the Crop Protection Standard 2022 (version Jan 2022) – Advance Gold® (only for the Gold3 variety), Armobreak®M2, Erger®, BluPrins® and Waiken® (Figure 1). Despite the length of time these products have been available – Armobreak® over ten years, and Advance Gold® for five years – adoption has been poor. In some trials, alternative budbreakers have shown little improvement compared with the control and in others they have produced results comparable to HiCane. It must be noted that all five of these alternatives are nitrogen-based – the nitrogen and sugars in these chemicals supposedly provide the nutrients to the young buds at budbreak.

Figure 1. Alternative budbreak enhancers (and their active ingredients) currently available for use. ‘ABU’ indicates ‘allowed but unproven’.

Management techniques to enhance budbreak

It is important to find a BBE that is equally effective as HC while being softer to the environment. There are techniques known to the industry that can be employed alongside an alternative BBE. These include,
• Wood type and quality: Larger diameter wood tends to be more vegetative and less floral, and smaller diameter wood is less vegetative and more floral. Maximise flower numbers by tying in early-grown wood that has spent the summer in the sun.
• Cane tipping: Cutting off the terminal bud of a cane, in late winter or early spring. The presence of a growing tip on a shoot can suppress budbreak further down the cane, so its removal just prior to budburst can cause an increase in buds to break.
• Autumn girdling: Girdling prevents the downward movement of carbohydrates to the roots and diverts it to the emerging buds where it is most required. A girdle done in late March/early April in Hayward kiwifruit increased flower bud initiation, enhanced flowering, fruit-set and hence yield in the following season. More information can be found here.
• Canopy management: Open, well-spaced canopy allows better light penetration, keeping next year’s canes well-lit while also reducing excessive vigour and preventing competition for carbohydrates.
• Managing crop load: In spring, vines are relying on stored carbohydrates to support budburst and early canopy growth. Over-cropped canopies in the previous season may mean insufficient reserves come spring, leaving you with poor budburst and potentially low flower numbers.
• Evaporative cooling: A study in South Africa showed that misting of Hayward vines during winter may be able to increase winter chilling. Based on this, a pilot scale Zespri trial (Snelgar 2004) showed that as the water evaporates off the buds it cools them down thereby increasing the level of chilling. However, this may not be a viable option, as misting can create ideal conditions for pest attack and pathogen growth.

At the HiCane forum, Zespri showed that research has already begun trials on a better understanding of budbreak mechanisms, alongside other alternative BBE chemicals with different mode(s) of action.

I personally feel that alongside searching for novel chemicals, research should also focus on optimising vine stress such as application(s) of moderate levels of cold or heat. Better understanding of detoxification mechanisms by using benign chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, may also help in the race to search for alternative mechanisms of budbreak.

Further reading

Mcpherson HG, Richardson AC, Snelgar WP, Currie MB (2001). Effects of hydrogen cyanamide on budbreak and flowering in kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa ’Hayward’). New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 4: 277-285.

Richardson AC, Vetharaniam K, Snelgar P, Kramer-Walter K (2022). Chilling out. Kiwifruit Journal, Jun-July 2022: 15-17.

Jiang HW, Liu MJ, Chen IC, Huang CH, Chao LY, Hsieh HL (2010). A glutathione s-transferase regulated by light and hormones participates in the modulation of arabidopsis seedling development. Plant Physiology, 154(4): 1646–1658.

Walton EF, Wu RM, Richardson AC, Davy M, Hellens RP, Thodey K, Janssen BJ, Gleave AP, Rae GM, Wood M, Schaffer RJ (2009). A rapid transcriptional activation is induced by the dormancy-breaking chemical hydrogen cyanamide in kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) buds. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60: 3835–3848.

Sudawan B, Chang CS, Chao HF, Ku MSB, Yen YF (2016). Hydrogen cyanamide breaks grapevine bud dormancy in the summer through transient activation of gene expression and accumulation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. BMC Plant Biology, 16: 202.

Snelgar WP (2004). Alternative bud-break tools. Part B: evaporative cooling. HortResearch Client Report No. 13136; Contract No. 19405.

Organic Insights

Bex Astwood
Organic Category Manager

As the recently appointed Kiwifruit Organic Category Manager, I thought I would use this month’s Organic Insight to introduce myself. Having spent the past season as the Harvest Manager, I have already met many of you and I look forward to meeting all of you as time permits throughout this year.

Joining Trevelyan’s in March, I have enjoyed being immersed in the high season of the industry and applying my positive attitude to the fast-paced environment. I am passionate about organic growing practices and believe horticulture, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles will be an important aspect in the future. Organic horticulture provides a holistic style of farming, where healthy soil and environmental outcomes are prioritised, while providing healthy and nutritious food. This view is shared by many, with the 2020/21 New Zealand Organic Sector Market Report finding that 41% of New Zealanders surveyed prefer to buy organic fruit and vegetables.

In addition, the market for organic produce, both globally and in New Zealand, continues to grow every year. Horticulture is now New Zealand’s second largest organic sector, at $143 million up 6% from 2017 (2020/21 New Zealand Organic Sector Market Report ). As organic horticulture continues to advance economic, social and environmental opportunities, I look forward to contributing to the sector.

Following the completion of my Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management, I worked on an organic apple orchard in Hawkes Bay where I developed a passion for horticulture. Through my professional experience as a resource consent planner, I have technical knowledge of resource management, local government legislation, and relationship management skills which I will apply to this role.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to visit and build relationships with growers and other industry partners. I look forward to working with you, and if you have any queries, please feel free to reach out.


2020/21 New Zealand Organic Sector Market Report – Commissioned by of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand

Sarah Lei
Sustainability Manager

Carbon Neutral Kiwifruit

In early 2022 Zespri called for expressions of interest from growers and postharvest facilities to take part in a SunGold Kiwifruit Carbon Neutral Trial (Kiwiflier Issue 431, January 2022). The trial started in June 2022 and will run for two full seasons.

Where have we come from?

The kiwifruit industry’s sustainability targets were released in February 2020 and the associated climate change strategy was released in 2021. The strategy sets out Zespri’s approach through until 2035, to lead the kiwifruit industry’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

Where are we at now?

Climate change represents both an opportunity and a risk for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.  A recent report from the Ministry for Primary Industries shows the current locations most suitable for cultivating kiwifruit could shift around the country because of climate change. Recent heatwaves in Europe and flooding in the Southern Hemisphere are also highlighting the imminent impacts of a changing climate.

Many customers are becoming increasingly concerned about product carbon emissions and research shows that consumers who care about carbon are growing faster than any other market segment.

What is happening in other sectors?

Silver Fern Farms, the country’s largest meat processor and marketer launched its first carbon-zero certified beef in the United States in January 2022.  Other producers with carbon-zero certified products include dairy co-operative Fonterra, chicken producer Waitoa, beverage company Lion, wine group Yealands, and bottled water company Antipodes.  Greek kiwifruit supplier Zeus first calculated their carbon footprint in 2012, and this was updated in 2021.

The Carbon Neutral Kiwifruit Trial

The purpose of the trial is as follows;

  • Measure carbon emissions across the supply chain.
  • Identify opportunities to reduce emissions.
  • Utilise carbon offsetting to test a carbon-neutral Sungold product in the market.

The trial will take a phased approach, similar to that used when introducing new cultivars;

  • First Season (2022/23) – measure baseline carbon emissions from orchards and throughout the supply chain and identify significant sources of emissions (fertiliser use, electricity, refrigeration, shipping, etc.).
  • Second Season (2023/24) – Reducing emissions and exploring opportunities to sequester carbon. Supply a carbon-neutral product for a major market trial.

Certification of the carbon-neutral SunGold product will be carried out by South Pole to provide assurance to consumers.  Further investigation is being carried out by Zespri in relation to the most appropriate carbon offsets to use.

What will growers be recording?

Growers will manually enter information into the provided tool including:

  • Petrol/diesel
  • Electricity use
  • Number of hours contractors use machinery on the orchard (to estimate fuel use)
  • Fertiliser and compost use
  • Agrichemical use
  • Orchard data such as hectares and production
  • Capital items like tractors, quad bikes, netting, irrigation and other orchard structures.

The trial doesn’t involve accounting for on-orchard sequestration such as shelter belts, as this is not yet recognised by the New Zealand Government or zero carbon accreditation bodies. This is an emerging area of discussion in governments and carbon markets. Therefore, growers will be asked to provide a description of any areas on their orchards that may be sequestering carbon.

What is happening in postharvest?

Trevelyan’s are one of the four postharvest suppliers involved in the carbon-neutral kiwifruit trial.  We provided input to Zespri at an early stage in the project and we have provided feedback for both the orchard and postharvest carbon calculators. 

Trevelyan’s has eight orchards supplying fruit for the trial and we are keen to support our growers on this journey.  If growers are still interested in joining the trial, we would be happy to help facilitate this process.  Please contact for more information.


Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

You have a vote – please exercise it

Your Directors meeting this month covered a variety of subjects, but perhaps the majors were the Zespri Fruit Quality Tactical Action Plan and the 2022 Producer vote.

The Fruit Quality Plan appears to be focused in the right areas and we believe such action is what our Industry needs to reverse the downward trend in fruit quality delivered to the market in recent years. We have been concerned for some time that the Zespri Grade Standard has not been the industry target, but rather the limit of the tolerance allowed in audits. The Quality Plan has now been in operation for most of July and it appears there has been a positive impact on fruit quality delivered to market.

We have an important Producer vote being undertaken concerning our ZGS operations. These are the overseas plantings that produce Zespri branded kiwifruit for sale in the Northern Hemisphere when the New Zealand grown crop is not in market. In essence, it is to have Zespri branded kiwifruit on the supermarket shelves continuously all year round. There is a lot of important information that all growers should be aware of before your vote is cast on the two resolutions being put forward. Trevelyan’s will be arranging a meeting for growers to receive this information. If you are like me, it is much easier to digest these facts and opinions in person alongside other similarly minded growers, rather than reading seemingly endless papers and articles on the subject. Zespri representatives will present at this meeting with a strong focus on information sharing and a call to vote, rather than electioneering on which way to vote. The vote is a Producer vote and not a Zespri shareholder vote. Please make the commitment to attend this meeting before you vote.

There are also important industry annual general meetings (AGM’s) and elections to attend over the next few weeks. Please attend these events, not only to gain additional knowledge of how our industry operates and where it is at, but also to have your say in the voting options that are presented.

Colin Olesen – Chair

This year the annual Bay of Plenty Young Growers competition, saw eight, diverse and impressive young growers compete in numerous individual challenges.

Laura Schultz and Gurjinder Singh, both from Trevelyan’s spent the whole day on 20 July, having their skills tested and showing their ability to run a successful horticultural business in a series of challenges. The evening was followed by a gala dinner and all contestants gave short speeches on the topic ‘’What I’ll be growing in 2050’. Laura excelled in the individual challenges, and impressed judges with her speech on providing the best quality produce by adapting to climate change, and growing crops that meet the changing environment.

Laura will now go on to compete in the national Young Grower of the Year competition, run by Horticulture New Zealand, and will compete for the national title of Young Grower 2022 with the winners from other regions. Once again Laura will be tested on business and practical modules, horticultural skills, business knowledge, leadership abilities, and oratory talents.

At Trevelyan’s, we strive to support team members in achieving their goals and recognising their talents and we are fortunate to have many rising stars in the team!