Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit June 2022 Edition

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

When I was a lot younger and didn’t have a wise bone in my body, I would operate at the maximum! I would push the boundaries and test my body, my bike, my legs, or the car, just to see how fast I could get down the road. The result was a large ACC file, numerous speeding tickets, and a lot of pain, until I got some control over my actions.

When speed of production is pushed, you typically end up with a highly productive job at a great price, but with poor quality. Quality is hard, it requires a lot of processes and systems that need to be adhered to, and for the producer, it requires energy and expense. However, for the next person in the supply chain, irrelevant of who they may be, it is imperative.

As the volume of fruit increases, Zespri will find it challenging to sell a piece of fruit that slips below the average line. I believe Zespri is currently struggling at the sale point with both physical damage rots and Alternaria on the fruit. Alternaria is a black fungus that grows on the skin of the fruit when it has been impacted by exploded fruit at packing – making it unsaleable.

It looks like we can use the coolstores to mitigate a certain amount of damage that these exploding fruits are causing. The cooling effect of the coolstore increases the viscosity of the fruit pulp. Hence, the cooler the fruit the more integrity the fruit has. The challenge then becomes not putting them in a tray, and the best solution is to minimise them in the canopy, so they do not make it into a tray. Our observation was that those that had applied their winter PSA sprays were in a far better place than those that hadn’t.

As for the physical damage rots, these remind me of my younger days, and we need to get control during harvest. It is our intention to change the way we audit at harvest; we are currently gathering data to make sure there is rigour behind the methodology we will employ. This will allow Zespri to share a great story in the markets about this real piece of great-tasting fruit.


Trevelyan's News - John Lewitt

Operations Update

John Lewitt
Operations Manager

We finished our 2022 packing season with the last of the Hayward fruit packed on Sunday, 19 June. We had hoped to finish earlier than this, but the frequent rain events throughout the Hayward harvest season caused delays.

On the last day of packing, our staff enjoyed a well-deserved barbeque to celebrate the end of what has been another challenging, yet successful packing season. Our final pack-out figures are as follows:










Our focus now pivots to the shipping season and the inventory management of the remaining fruit in our coolstores. Over 60% of our SunGold fruit and over 45% of our Hayward fruit, has been shipped, however, approximately 7.5m trays of fruit are still yet to be shipped between now and the end of the shipping season, forecasted in November.

The primary quality issue we are observing prior to loading out is Alternaria. This is caused by the juice from exploded fruit at packing. The juice impacts the fruit around it and when this fruit has been in a coolstore for a period of time, a black fungal growth forms on the skin making this fruit unsaleable. Other quality issues we are observing are physical damage rots, softs, as well as over ripe fruit in the smaller sizes.

Additionally, we are already well underway with our planning for the 2023 harvest and packing season. As part of this, we have already commenced work on the installation of our automated bulk packing system in Packhouse 4.


Industry Update - Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson
Supply Manager

Review of the Five- Point Plan that was implemented in 2022

With the significant increase in crop and anticipated labour shortages, the Industry agreed to introduce the following Five-Point Action Plan this season.

Positive Results

  • The implementation of the plan resulted in a successful, timely harvest of the full crop and saw the Industry pull together to work collectively in a time of crisis.


  • It was not without challenges and there were complexities with shipping such as a high proportion of fruit early. There have also been some quality issues in the market, particularly with the very early fruit.

Improvements for 2023

  • While the plan was largely successful, some improvements will be made to the mechanisms to execute the plan with a focus on ensuring the delivery of high-quality early fruit to the market.

Indicative June 2022/23 OGR Forecasts

The Zespri Board has updated its indicative forecast OGR guidance last provided to growers on 23 March, 2022.


(Fruit Categories)

2022/23 Indicative Per Tray Range – June Forecast2022/23 Indicative Per Hectare Range – June Forecast2022/23 Indicative Per Tray Range – 23 March Guidance2022/23 Indicative Per Hectare Range – 23 March Guidance
Zespri Green$6.00 – $7.50$60,000 – $73,000$5.00-$7.00$54,000-$75,000
Zespri Organic Green$8.75 – $10.25$56,000 – $66,000$8.50-$10.50$65,000-$80,000
Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit$10.25 – $11.75$141,000 – $161,000$10.00- $12.00$153,000 – $184,000
Zespri Organic SunGold Kiwifruit$11.50 – $13.50$123,000 – $145,000$11.00- $13.50$144,000 – $176,000
Zespri Green14$5.00 – $7.00$30,000 – $43,000$6.50-$8.50$45,000-$59,000
Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit$17.00 – $19.00NA$15.50- $19.00NA

Reminder of the following dates to put in your diaries

Producer Vote: Proposed ZGS Expansion

Zespri is undertaking a producer vote seeking support for the expansion of our current offshore kiwifruit plantings (excluding Chile and China). Voting will open on Thursday, 28 July and will close at 5 pm Wednesday, 24 August, 2022. Please take time to vote.

Please visit the dedicated producer vote website – – to find more information on ZGS and our expansion strategy.

Zespri Annual Meeting: Wednesday 24 August 

The Zespri AGM will be held at Trustpower Arena, 81 Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui, at 1pm on Wednesday, 24 August, 2022.

Shareholders may vote at the meeting in person, appoint a proxy to attend and vote on their behalf, or vote in advance. Please note that advance voting (online or by post) and proxy appointments close at 1 pm on Monday, 22 August, 2022.

Technical Info - Pronoy

Pranoy Pal 
Kiwifruit Technical Manager

Soil – the living system beneath us

Another harvest season has gone with its own set of hurdles, spontaneous decision-making, and overall success. This season we were faced with a number of obstacles such as higher number of explosive fruit (which may also cause higher incidence of non-pathogenic fungal growth or NPFG), shriveled stalks, over-ripes, fruit drop (in Red19), lower winter chill hours, and the list goes on. There is so much to this that we do not understand completely – seasonal variability in addition to the above, makes our understanding more complicated.

It is now time to pause and ponder on the reflections on how we can prepare ourselves for some of these problems and be more successful the next season. This revolves around the main aspects – soil, water, plant nutrition, and pests and diseases – and their sustainable management in the long term. Among these, soil health, has been the most overlooked factor. Industry practices in the last decade have focused on increased productivity, with increased reliance on synthetic sources of plant nutrition. Studies have shown that plant’s nutrient use efficiently decreases over time when it receives abundant nutrients in the most easily accessible forms. Intensive cropping practices can cause significant changes to soil physical and chemical properties, a greater topsoil erosion, and biodiversity losses together with increased nutrient leaching, greenhouse gas emissions, soil acidification, and surface water pollution.

The importance of looking after soil and the impact it can have on plant health, productivity, and the wider environment is recognised by most growers, but the complex mix of soil structure, chemistry, and biology that contribute to healthy, productive soils is less understood. At the moment, with leaf drop and vines shutting down, your orchards are also due for a soil test. Hence, the timing of this article is spot-on on the importance to focus on soil health. Figure 1 shows the four pillars of soil health. Maintenance of soil health aligns with the frequently quoted buzzwords ‘regenerative agriculture’ and ‘sustainability’. This will be the focus in the next few newsletters.

This newsletter will revisit basic definitions of soil properties and its relevance to growing kiwifruit more responsibly, and sustainably.

Figure 1. Pillars of soil health

These pillars revolve around the soil health indicators shown in Figure 2 below. All these physical, chemical, and biological factors are interlinked and improvising one attribute can affect several other attributes – positively or negatively; hence it requires sound understanding.

Figure 2. Factors that govern soil health

Soil is composed of organic matter, minerals, water, and air. The proportion of these components governs the soil’s texture, structure, and porosity (aeration).

Soil structure is the arrangement of soil particles into aggregate sizes, and the pore space around them. Soil’s porosity can greatly be affected by waterlogging, and excessive compaction caused due to machinery (that increases soil bulk density – which is less desirable).

Soil texture is the proportion (and particle size) of three mineral particles, sand, silt, and clay, in a soil. A good mixture of these three particle fractions generally denote a good soil. The texture also decides the capacity of a soil to hold (water holding capacity or WHC) and drain water. Most of the soils in the kiwifruit orchards across the Bay of Plenty are free-draining soils that usually have higher organic matter and regular annual rainfall. Organic matter content in kiwifruit orchards ranges from 7-17%. See Figure 3 for a detailed soil texture triangle.

Figure 3. The soil texture triangle.

Soil pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity and is the measure of hydrogen ions (H+) in the soil. This is an important soil attribute that can govern the availability and uptake of several nutrients to the plants. This means that there might enough nutrient additions to the soil but due to higher or lower soil pH, the nutrients may not be available for uptake by the plants (Figure 4). Soil pH can indirectly affect cation exchange capacity shown below. Kiwifruit naturally prefers slightly acid soils, so the target pH level is approximately 5.8-6.5.

Figure 4. Availability of plant nutrients at various pH levels.

Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC): Clay particles have a net negative charge, and so can attract positive ions (cations), hold them, and then release them to the soil water when its cations have been lost through leaching or plant uptake. Cations such as potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), iron (Fe2+ and Fe3+), and zinc (Zn2+) are essential plant nutrients, so the ability of soil to hold and release these ions later, is important for plant growth and reproduction. Medium CEC for kiwifruit is ranges from 12-25 meq/100 g soil.

Soil biota, including plants, animals and microorganisms, perform functions that contribute to the soil’s development, structure and productivity (Figure 5). Soil microbes include bacteria, protozoa, algae, fungi and actinomycetes etc, can aid soil structure by physically surrounding particles and ‘gluing’ them together through the secretion of organic compounds, mainly sugars. Bacteria are important in organic matter decomposition, biological nitrogen fixation, nutrient transformations, and small clay aggregation. Fungi are extremely important in the breakdown of SOM and large aggregate stability.

Figure 5. The soil’s flora, fauna and microbes soil and their food web at various trophic levels.

Kiwifruit nutrient requirements

Zespri has created a nutrient requirement booklet. It mentions that kiwifruit vines require 16 key elements for growth and fruit production. These include carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), small quantities of micronutrients (iron, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chloride) and larger quantities of macronutrients, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S). Vines take up more than 65% of the nutrients they need in the 10 weeks after bud break. So that makes it the best time for application. Figure 6 shows the extent of N that gets removed during harvest each season but parts of it can also get replenished in the form of leaf-fall and prunings.

Carbon is the building block of all plants and animals, hence deserves its own section. Briefly, soil carbon promotes soil structure which consequently improves soil aeration and water drainage and retention and reduces the risk of erosion and nutrient leaching. Soil organic carbon is also important to chemical composition and biological productivity, including fertility and nutrient holding capacity of a soil. With these benefits, our aim should be to maximise the capture and storage of carbon in our soil.

Nitrogen is the key element in plant growth. N combines with C, H, O, and S to create amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids are used in forming protoplasm, the site for cell division and thus for plant growth and development. N is a major part of the chlorophyll molecule and is therefore necessary for photosynthesis. N is a necessary component of several vitamins. A Zespri survey done in 2021 found that growers on average applied, 124 kg N/ha/year for Gold3 and 120 kg N/ha/year for Hayward. The average proportional contribution to total nitrogen was 82% from soil applied synthetic N, 15% from compost, and 2% from foliar fertilisers. Ideally, this proportion should be 50-50.

Although these quantities of N are less than other cropping systems such as dairy pastures, studies have shown that applying almost half of the above quantities might be sufficient for growth without affecting productivity. Hence, it is important to consider the “4Rs” of fertiliser use.

  1. At the right rate
  2. Of the right type
  3. Delivered to the right place
  4. At the right time

Figure 6. Quantities of nitrogen within different plant parts of a kiwifruit vine. Source: Zespri Nutrient Budget Booklet 2021.

Phosphorus plays a major role in energy storage and transfers in photosynthesis and respiration. P is part of the RNA and DNA structures, which are the major components of genetic information. Seeds have the highest concentration of P in a mature plant, and P is required in large quantities in young cells, such as shoots and root tips, where metabolism is high and cell division is rapid. P aids in root development, flower initiation, and seed and fruit development.

Potassium increases vigour and disease resistance of plants, and helps form and translocate starches and sugars in plants. A potassium deficiency can affect fruit number and size. The presence of K is vital for plant growth because K is known to be an enzyme activator that promotes metabolism. K assists in regulating the plant’s use of water by controlling the opening and closing of leaf stomates, where water is released to cool the plant. K is also involved in protein synthesis.

Calcium is essential for root health, growth of new roots and root hairs, and the development of leaves. It is also important for cell wall development and plays a role in fruit storability.

Magnesium is a key component of chlorophyll, the green colouring material of plants, and is vital for photosynthesis (the conversion of the sun’s energy to food for the plant).

Sulphur is essential for forming proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and chlorophyll in plants. Sulphur is also important in photosynthesis.

Why is all this important?

Although kiwifruit production systems employ good agricultural practices, its intensification over the years with the objective to keep increasing productivity, may eventually cause the vines to ‘stall’. It is therefore important to strive to bring back the focus to the maintenance of soil health. Industry practices and grower surveys have shown that they are willing to learn/employ more sustainable practices such as,

  • need-based, timed, reduced, nutrient application.
  • Use of slow-release, organic forms of nitrogen and carbon (such as compost, manure, mulches).
  • Timing of application of compost based on its C:N ratio and consider the rate of its mineralisation so that it can release N when the vine actually needs it.
  • Following a soil test, consider the ways to improvise soil fertility using tactics to increase soil biodiversity and soil health.
  • Minimum use of machinery to reduce soil compaction.
  • Maintain a good soil cover using mulches, inter-row, within-row crops (e.g., legumes) throughout the year to reduce nutrient run-off, erosion, and leaching.
  • Consider regenerative practices and increase soil carbon pools using less labile sources.

More to come on regenerative horticulture and carbon capture – watch this space.

Dave Parson

Dave Parsons
Organic Category Manager

Almost there….

Greetings, by the time you read this, the harvest will be completed (hopefully), and for those of you growing the Red variety, only nine months until the next harvest starts!

This month I will look at a brief roundup of the season so far, a review of scale results, winter treatments, and other points of interest.

The following bar graphs represent industry Maturity Clearance System (MCS) clearance results for HWOB Dry Matter TZG (Figure 1) and Weight Average (Figure 2) by ISO Week, comparing 2021 and 2022 results, until the 6th of June. Results indicate lower dry matter but larger average size for the industry when compared to last season.









(Figure 1 – Dry Matter TZG HWOB).









(Figure 2 – Weight Average HWOB).

Organic Prepack Scale results

Before we pack a line of OB fruit the packhouse completes a prepack inspection for scale, which involves a 600-fruit sample taken over six bins / per maturity area. The purpose is to give the shed manager an indication regarding the markets they can potentially pack for, and the packaging they can use when setting up the packing line.

The Zespri Quality Manual lists the levels of scale that are acceptable to certain markets. If a prepack inspection indicates <20 scale, they can start packing for Japan, whereas >20 scale, the manager will set the packing line for Europe or another market. This can obviously change depending on QC findings as the line progresses. Figure 3 shows Trevelyan’s scale prepack results by variety, compared to last season, at the time of writing.

GAOBNumber of checksAverage number of scale found in the 600-fruit checkRange (Lowest – Highest)
20228318(2 – 40)
20217521(2 – 96)
20222421(5 – 42)
20211910(2 – 37)

(Figure 3. Trevelyan’s Prepack Scale Inspection results by variety – 2022/2021)

If you are interested in knowing what your results were for your individual maturity areas, please give me a call.

Organic Winter Treatments for scale control – (All varieties)

The Zespri Crop Protection Programme (CPP) allows growers two post-harvest mineral oil sprays for the control pF scale. The first with a Justified Approval (JA) prior to leaf drop and the second during the dormancy period, July – August.

Our Technical Department recommends that you do not apply mineral oil sprays to either variety through the June – August periods. The reasons for this are:

  • In a recent Zespri trial (admittedly only conducted on one Hayward orchard over one season) the risk of bud damage was seen as significant “…in the latter part of July and early August.” Due to the potential for similar if not worse weather conditions in June, this is also deemed a potentially high-risk period.
  • The same trial did not find issues with mineral oil applications on GA crops, however, there was some variable bud break observed on orchards in spring, which may have been attributable to July applications- hence the level of concern.
  • For further information refer to Trevelyan’s Tech Tip on 14th.

If you are intent on applying an oil spray, be cautious around your application timing. Ensure there are good drying conditions and humidity is below 65%.

Other points of interest:

  • Just a reminder that the annual copper limit is 3kg per year.
  • Based on Zespri’s current Departure Plan, both GAOB and HWOB should be fully loaded out by the end of November.
  • From the “You’re never too old to learn file,” thanks to Marty Blake (Trevelyan’s Grower Rep), for this one. If your orchard has recently transitioned to full organic status, you may see a Korean (KR) hold against your spray diary. This is because the Koreans require one of their auditors to visit all newly transitioned orchards, and due to COVID-19 restrictions this has not occurred in the last couple of years.
  • Finally, a reminder to those GAOB growers amongst you. In December last year, COKA Chairman Doug Voss put forward a resolution and got support for the laying of a complaint with Kiwifruit New Zealand, (KNZ) on behalf of organic growers, in relation to the decision by Zespri not to export GAOB to China during the 2021 season. There has been no announcement as to how this is proceeding but I will hopefully have an update for you next month.

Thanks for your continued support and assistance over the harvest, and I look forward to catching up will you all in the coming weeks.




Sarah Lei
Sustainability Manager

Update on regenerative horticulture

Since we last looked at regenerative horticulture practices in December 2020, there have been some significant developments, so it’s time to review how far we have come in the regenerative space and how closely it is linked to sustainability progress.

The regenerative approach is gaining momentum

Food companies across the globe are setting ambitious goals to adopt regenerative practices across large areas of land and to store significant amounts of carbon in the soil.

McCain Foods, one of the world’s largest makers of frozen potato products, has pledged that as of 2030 it will only partner with farms that follow regenerative agriculture practices, as part of ambitious plans to help address climate change. McCain’s other targets relate to a reduction in carbon emissions and making all its packaging compostable, recyclable or reusable. McCain’s intention is to help growers by opening three ‘Farms of the Future’ around the world by 2025.

Closer to home, the New Zealand Merino Company has launched the world’s first “regenerative wool platform”.  The company has signed 167 farmers to the programme which assures customers that the wool they are buying is farmed according to an “index of regenerative farming practices”.

With regenerative practices representing an opportunity to store more and emit less carbon, as well as improve water quality outcomes, the increasing movement in this direction is no surprise.

Regenerative horticulture is more complicated than it sounds 

All this sounds great in theory, especially for those sitting behind a desk making policy decisions and setting targets. For the growers out there doing the work, it’s a different story.  There are dozens of things to consider when making a regenerative transition including:

  • Types of cover crops that make sense for your soil type, weather, and location 
  • The variability in the soil characteristics of one block
  • Cover crop survival rates in your orchard
  • How your neighbours will react if you grow cover crops
  • The impact changes will have on productivity

At the moment, business as usual without conservation practices seems to be working out just fine for most growers so finding the motivation to change can be difficult.

Progress is starting to occur

Despite the challenges, where there is a genuine commitment to understand and realise the benefits of regenerative horticulture, progress is starting to occur.

At the end of June 2021, Trevelyan’s hosted a well-attended Regenerative Field Day with expert Daniel Schurmann from Biologix.  While the discussions around soil chemistry quickly became complex, there was plenty of interest in looking at soil conditions and worm counts in an existing conventional orchard, that is considering a transition to more regenerative practices.








In November 2021 the Zespri Organic Fielday visited Leighton Oates’ regenerative organic kiwifruit orchard development at Omanawa.  Having started with a greenfield site that had previously been used for dairy grazing, meant the soil organic matter started around 15%, rather than 1-3%.  As well as storing carbon, high soil organic matter also increases water retention.  Discussions included the consideration of cover crops, the need for weed strips, the fungal content of compost and the use of seaweed and fish supplements.

Zespri and T&G Global are teaming up with Plant & Food Research and other industry partners on a new project to research, develop, define, and promote sustainable and regenerative horticulture practices within the kiwifruit, apple and berry industries. The project is partially funded through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures Fund (SFFF). The first year of the project, is currently underway and is focused on conducting scientific research on what is currently known and understood about regenerative practices. A recent survey completed by growers has revealed the drivers for regenerative horticulture. Please see the results below:








Market analysis has also been conducted to better understand consumer perceptions and drivers.

Change is needed

However you feel about regenerative horticulture, it is clear that change is needed to address critical environmental challenges such as climate change and water quality.   The kiwifruit industry needs to understand, acknowledge, and address its environmental impacts.  Regenerative horticulture presents an opportunity to make meaningful changes to address these impacts.


Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

Where have we come from and how did we get here.

Your Directors meeting this month was largely taken up with the continuing discussion around fruit quality, following on from the completion of the 2022 harvest. The subject will continue to be a work in progress as we research further, to determine how we will go forward from here to try, as best we can, to maintain and enhance the Zespri brand. It is that brand that presently holds a premium in the market. If the quality of the Zespri fruit is compromised then our consumers will also compromise the premium they are prepared to pay. While your Directors are well aware the challenges are right from the orchard, to the packhouse, to the ship, and to the market place every step needs to be continually examined to ensure best practice is maintained and even enhanced. And that requires a constant review of what we do to ensure, wherever possible, we do it better. Your Directors welcome the prospect of every Trevelyan grower having a discussion with their Grower Services Representative about their fruit pack-out results, and where improvements can be made. I have said for many a year the room for improvement is the biggest room on my family orchard.

Thank you to those growers that provided feedback on my writings in last month’s edition. But I wish I got more! Your Directors give careful thought to their role as your representatives in overseeing the governance of TGL. But at times, we need more than our own perspectives to be discussed.

The Hail Policy proposed for 2023 was reviewed, with it being noted that it is not a Zespri insurance policy, but rather a distribution of pool funds for hail damage, funded by the industry.

I want to record my thanks to all the TPCL team for getting all our fruit packed and stored. At the start of the harvest season, we had COVID-19 all over the place, and towards the end of the harvest, we had rainwater everywhere, with many a challenge in between. Growers appreciate and acknowledge that a difficult and challenging job has been completed on time. Well done.

Colin Olesen – Chair

The health and wellbeing of the Trevelyan’s team is our top priority. Recently, we linked in with Poutiri Trust – a Maori health provider based in Te Puke. As part of their wider service, they are offer free, onsite, regular wellness checks for all our staff that include: the flu vaccination, COVID-19 vaccinations, overall general health checks ie. blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, oxygen levels, blood sugar, ear exam, vision exam, weight, diabetes, and any further discussions around any overall health concerns.

This week, the Wellness Committee rolled out their new Pātaka Kai (a Māori term for a food storehouse or basically a pantry). This stand represents an opportunity to bring awareness to food wastage, (many of us have excess of fruit and veggies from our gardens and orchards) and encourage the co-sharing between our teams. It’s a very tangible way to help one another and strengthen our bonds. We are delighted with the positive way this has affected the team, we see many actively using the stand and it has promoted a real culture of sharing and caring.