Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

eNews Kiwifruit November 2022 Edition

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan
Managing Director

Herding Our Terms

When I was somewhat younger than I am now, on returning home from school, I would join my friend at their cowshed over the road. I would help him as he prepared his calf for Lamb and Calf Day. It did wonders for my vocab of four-letter words and educated me on the birds and the bees as the bull got on with his business.

In today’s world, I marvel at how, in amongst all the mud and cow effluent that a farmer must deal with in the cowshed, they are able to produce a vat full of high-quality milk. Part of the answer seems to me to be with the guiding hand of the “Fonterra Farmers’ Terms of Supply”.

The Terms of Supply that set out the expectations for the quality of the milk catches my eye. Fonterra is continually testing farmers milk, to determine such things as the temperature of the milk at collection to residues and somatic cell counts. Once the parameters have been measured, they are then graded. The highest grade is known as “Excellence” with five steps down to the lowest, being “Reject”. As the grades step down there is an associated reduction that a farmer earns for their milk. The outcome is a business that has a quality story to tell in the market and a strengthening return to farmers.

Over the years we have had our version of a quality standard, picking auditors in the field and reject rate charges in the packhouse. What we currently use needs to incorporate a charge for the number of explosive fruit in a bin at packing time. Our auditing system is also not robust enough. Over the next couple of months Trevelyan’s will endeavour to put our own version of a “Fonterra Farmers’ Terms of Supply” together. This will hopefully allow us to add minimal cost to the process as we will have spent negligible time dealing with any waste at the packhouse.

Trevelyan's News - John Lewitt

John Lewitt
Head of Operations and Logistics

Operations Update

In the middle of November, the last of our kiwifruit was shipped to China and Taiwan. Trevelyan’s has ended the season with very favourable fruit loss results compared to the industry for all varieties and grow methods, as seen in the graph below.

A key reason for the lower-than-industry fruit loss has been the continued focus on removing explosive fruit at the bintip when packing.

Although this process aided us with lower fruit loss, it cost us significantly in production speed; we stopped the line every time we found an explosive fruit to remove the fruit and clean the belt. It also resulted in a reduced Class 1 packout because we removed all surrounding fruit that was contaminated with juice from the explosive fruit.

We were only able to slow down packing and continue to harvest fruit at the optimum maturity due to our ability to bin store large volumes of fruit in field bins and then pack this fruit through our controlled humidity packing systems at a later date.

Despite our efforts at the bintip, NPFG (the fungus that grows on the juice of fruit contaminated from an explosive fruit) was still a major contributor to fruit loss and a major reason for requiring a pallet to be repacked. Repacking is a significant cost to the pool, depending on the time of the season it can cost the pool over $400 for a single pallet to be repacked – excluding the fruit loss.

Over the last three years the number of explosive fruit removed at the bintip has tripled. We cannot allow this trend to continue. The issue needs to be solved on the orchard and the explosive fruits need to be removed prior to being transported to the packhouse. To help reverse this trend at the bintip, we are looking at implementing a charge for explosive fruit in 2023. The more explosive fruits per bin that need to be removed, the higher the charge will be.

This season’s pollen harvest has almost concluded. It has been a challenging season with the variable bud break, making picking difficult. We used 6 teams of Trevelyan’s staff and 4 teams of contractors to pick the flowers this season. To date we have picked 12,250.59kg of flowers, which, after milling, has translated to 110.92kg of pollen. This is 3.7% up on the 2021 volumes.

Industry Update - Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

2023 Commercial Drivers

The Industry Advisory Council and Industry Supply Group have been challenged on behalf of the industry to review the commercial drivers for 2023; the focus being to rebalance KiwiStart and time incentives so that the right fruit is harvested at the right time and to ensure that growers know that there is very good money to be earned for good-storing fruit in 2023.

Agreed principles:

  • KiwiStart: To compensate and incentivise growers for the opportunity foregone by harvesting fruit early to ensure the sufficient and continuous supply of early season fruit.
  • Time: To compensate and incentivise growers for the cost and risk taken in producing good quality long-storing fruit.


  • To provide a greater level of reward for growers that can provide good quality fruit that stores later and ensure growers have a greater confidence to take the risk associated with being shipped later.
  • To ensure reasonable compensation during KiwiStart by incentivising fruit that has naturally reached close to optimum maturity. The KiwiStart rates have been revised downwards while balancing the appropriate incentive for the opportunity forgone and to ensure a smooth flow of fruit through the later KiwiStart weeks.

2023 Time rates

  • The industry has agreed to increase the time rates in 2023 by 33% for Hayward Conventional and 65% for SunGold Conventional. Rates for the other fruit groups are still being developed, but the intention is to have similar uplifts.

How could these increased time rates impact Trevelyan growers?

  • Many grower entities have experienced high losses this season which means there will be a large range of orchard gate returns (OGRs) between growers. Fortunately, Trevelyan’s has had comparatively low losses this season and this will flow through positively in our OGRs. If Trevelyan’s losses remain low again next season, this will result in significant time earnings/reward for growers with good-storing fruit.

2023 KiwiStart rates

  • 2023 KiwiStart rates are currently being calculated. Due to COVID-19 concerns in 2022, there were significant commercial uplifts included in the rates to ensure the planned early shipping program was met. These have been removed for 2023 and replaced with more modest commercial uplifts.
  • Indicative KiwiStart and time rates will be published in December 2022 and will be made available to growers as soon as possible.



    Technical Info - Pronoy

    Pranoy Pal 
    Kiwifruit Technical Manager

    Importance of Calcium in Fruit Attributes

    It’s that time of the year when fruitlets are in the cell division/cell multiplication stage i.e., approximately 10-50 days after fruit set. During this period, several growers consider applying foliar fertilisers, fruit sizing chemicals and other biostimulants.

    A plant biostimulant is defined as any substance or microorganism applied to plants with the aim to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and/or crop quality traits, regardless of its nutrients content. For example, Megafol, MC Cream, Platafol, Benefit Kiwi, are categorised as biostimulants.

    A foliar fertiliser is defined as any fertiliser that, once sprayed onto the leaves, can supply nutrients in the same way as a soil application, without causing any phytotoxic effects. For example, Technical Urea, K Bomber, Calcibit C and Croplift are categorised as foliar fertilisers.

    The number of biostimulants and foliar fertilisers available in the market has significantly increased in the last few years. It can sometimes be difficult to understand their modes-of-action or chemical composition and, therefore, which one ‘actually’ works. Both these terms are synonymously being used by growers at the moment, causing further confusion.

    Figure 1 shows an analysis performed by Zespri that ranks the top ten foliars by their total use over the last six years. We are working on a resource that enlists the most used foliars currently, the known mode-of-action, rate and timing of spray, and potential benefits.

    Figure 1. Foliar use of the top 10 most used foliars from 2017-2022

    Crop quality vs foliar fertilisers – are they connected?

    • Several quality issues (such as overripes, exploding softs, soft patches) point to premature softening and/or reduced firmness at-harvest. Excessive use of biostimulants and foliar fertilisers can also further exacerbate quality issues. These quality issues can happen due to the following aspects:
    • Excessive nutrients, especially nitrogen (N) can reduce disease resistance, and increase fruit softening on-orchard and/or in storage.
    • Higher N and potassium (K) application can reduce the availability and uptake of calcium (Ca) – this can affect fruit quality in both pre- and post-harvest such as lowering yield, causing higher incidences of physiological disorders, disease and pest infestation, and fruit softening.
    • Higher K rates can cause an antagonistic effect on Ca uptake by the roots. If Ca uptake decreases, then quality issues arise (discussed in the next section).
    • Higher N rates can also cause excessive vegetative growth which diverts the absorption of nutrients from the fruit to the shoots – this can incur added labour costs for thinning the canopy.

    Role of calcium in fruit physiology

    Calcium is a macronutrient that has a key role in physiological and structural functions such as – stress responses, water uptake rates, cell division and expansion, and cell wall strengthening. At the scale of the whole fruit, the cell wall represents about 60–75% of the total fruit Ca. Hence, Ca deficiency can lead to membrane breakdown and/or cell wall failure and pathogen susceptibility. Most of the Ca is delivered to the fruit in its early developmental stages i.e. within 40 days of fruitset (Figure 2). Ca is phloem-immobile meaning it is only transported to the aerial parts of the plant and fruit through transpiration of the xylem vessels. Leaves account for approximately 85-93% of total Ca uptake. This indicates lower levels of fruit-Ca because of the low rate of transpiration compared to the leaves.

    Figure 2. Seasonal patterns of calcium accumulation (adopted from Montanaro et al. 2014).

    The review paper of Montanaro et al. (2014) on kiwifruit suggests that the higher the transpiration rate, the higher the Ca accumulation in the fruit. Increased light radiation, higher vapour pressure deficit, wind speed, and soil irrigation can also have a major impact on Ca uptake into the fruit. These factors might indicate the reason for the slightly better fruit quality year in the 2020 season (because of a much drier year and consequently a higher transpiration) compared to the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

    The importance of Ca was also highlighted in the KiwiTech Bulletin N29 (published 2002). In that study, Hayward fruit were sourced from 10 kiwifruit growing areas. Post-harvest disorders and fruit composition were assessed at different timepoints during a 24-week storage. Pitting was associated with lines that had lower Ca and iron and higher boron, N and K. Fruit lines that had lower dry matter, but were more mature (higher Brix), softened faster during storage. Softer lines of fruit were associated with low Ca and higher N.

    Another Kiwifruit Journal article in 2010 (Boyd, Barnett and May) highlighted the antagonistic effects of N and Ca on fruit quality. In that study, the reasons for fruit softening pointed to:

    • Increased vigour due to higher N, causing reduced Ca uptake
    • Decreased Ca concentration caused by increased fruit shading
    • Dilution of Ca by increased fruit size (~18% reduction in fruit-Ca)
    • Reduced Ca uptake caused by displacement of Ca from the soil by ammonium ions

    One more Kiwifruit Journal article in 2012 indicated the potential role of Ca in Psa management. The author discusses an orchard with Psa-affected vines in Portugal in 2009 and how spraying a chemical containing Ca and boron was successful in controlling Psa for two years with almost nil visual symptoms, and great vine health and canopy growth. Higher N use was also thought to be the reason for decreased disease resistance of the vines.


    I feel that all of these aforementioned studies, the literature review and the Zespri analysis of the foliar fertilisers and biostimulants, suggests that, in a race to get bigger and better-tasting fruit, the industry has started using too much N (basal and side-dressings), too frequent N (foliar fertilisers) and too many biostimulants (anti-stress, growth promoter, fruit sizer etc.), and the focus on Ca has declined. It’s time we reduce these excessive inputs and learn from the learnings of the past. We should introduce fruit testing in addition to soil and leaf testing – these tests, in combination, may indicate that the vines may not need too many inputs overall. Currently we do not have threshold values of fruit nutrient concentrations, but over time, a collaborative input can help to develop such a resource.

    Please get in touch if you have any questions and suggestions.



    1. Mowat A, Maguire K (2002). Pitting, Softening and Dry Matter in Zespri Green Kiwifruit. Zespri KiwiTech Bulletin N29.
    2. Boyd L, Barnett A, May J (2010). Nitrogen and kiwifruit quality – as many questions as answers. Kiwifruit Journal.
    3. Montanaro G, Dichio B, Lang A, Mininni AN, Nuzzo V, Clearwater MJ, Xiloyannis C (2014). Internal versus external control of calcium nutrition in kiwifruit. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 177: 819-830.


    1. Xylem – The tissues which allow the movement of nutrients from roots to the shoots.
    2. Phloem – The tissues which allow the movement of nutrients from shoots to the roots.

    Organic Insights

    Bex Astwood
    Organic Category Manager

    Organic Field Day

    Welcome to the November newsletter. I would like to thank Zespri and all that were involved in the Organic Field Day. We visited Leighton Oat’s orchard in Omanawa and Braden Strahen’s orchard in Te Puna.

     We had a range of guest speakers, a few of their points raised are noted below:

    • Leighton spoke about the importance of increasing the organic matter of soil, which can enhance soil health and improve how well water soaks into it. By increasing organic matter, we can assist in capturing rain to promote better surface drainage and the retention of water, nutrients and microbial activity within the soil. The ideal target of organic matter is 10 – 14%. We can increase organic matter through regenerative planting. Maintaining good ground cover with tall vegetation can help protect your soil from run off and sediment loss. Mulching also provides ground cover to protect the soil from heavy rains.
    • Kate McDermott provided an update on the Organics Products and Production Bill (which was previously called the Organic Products Bill and renamed to reflect that organics is also about the way in which a product is produced). The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have released information on the proposed regulations, with feedback due by December 9th. If you have not received this information from Kate and would like to read it and provide feedback, please let me know.
    • Cathy McKenna from Plant and Food reminded us that scale pressure is high this year, with the conditions favourable for scale – don’t skip your oil sprays! She also spoke on recent research which showed that a treatment of 1% oil and Pyganic at the recommended rate was 95% effective for controlling PVH nymphs. More information on the field testing of this will be released soon.

    Recently, we had our end of year Certified Organic Kiwifruit Growers Association (COKA) evening where we presented and obtained feedback on our draft Strategic Plan – more on this in the next newsletter. It was a great evening and I look forward to taking this further.

    I look forward to catching up before Christmas, including at the Organics Town Hall event on Monday 12 December from 5-7 pm at the Zespri Head Office.

    As always, if you have any queries, please feel free to reach out.

    Sarah Lei
    Sustainability Manager

    Showcasing Sustainability

    By all accounts, 2022 has been a difficult year, not just for the kiwifruit industry, but also within New Zealand and across the world.  As we gradually emerge from the COVID-19 environment and work through the associated inflationary and labour pressures, it seems like there is always another challenge just around the corner.  Fruit quality issues, poor bud break and frosts continue to test our fortitude.

    Alongside these issues, we continue to work on sustainability and seek to improve our performance and grow our people.  An opportunity to support the Envirohub Wearable Art Challenge (held as part of the Tauranga Garden Festival) provided the catalyst to look at sustainability through different eyes and use as an important team-building opportunity.

    We were pleased to receive first place at the awards and take the opportunity to showcase our efforts in responsible waste management. It was great to participate in this event for the first time and we would like to congratulate all those who took part. Details of our wearable art are provided below.

    Kirihou e Kore e Kitea (Invisible Plastics) is a wearable art piece designed in the tradition of Tikanga Māori. Aiming to build the connection between the consumer and indigenous knowledge, this outfit is a statement about the packaging waste generated in kiwifruit production. Large quantities of waste that are produced annually by the postharvest sector go largely unseen by the consumer, so this piece aims to put a spotlight on the Invisible Plastics.

    All materials used in the creation of this project are sourced from waste streams on site at Trevelyan’s Pack and Cool Ltd (TPCL). These materials would have otherwise been recycled or composted. The numbers provided in brackets are representative of TPCL in 2021, which is equivalent to approximately 10% of the industry’s total fruit volume.

    Description of the design:

    • Pari. Intricately woven by Mana, this show-stopping bodice is made from waste strapping that is used to secure pallets of kiwifruit and packaging. Made from hard-to-recycle plastics, this waste is removed at the point of packing, or at retail, and is usually landfilled. (9 tonnes annually)
    • Piupiu. The mesmerising waist garment was meticulously knotted by Sarah, with long pieces of string hanging free. The green string, made from plastic, is used to temporarily hold empty kiwifruit boxes on a pallet before packing. Each piece of string holds one pallet for a few weeks before being discarded. The white waistband is the textile strapping from kiwifruit pallet corner boards. (400 kg annually)
    • Panekoti. The underskirt is made from a waste plastic wrapping that is used to deliver plix trays to the packhouse. The plastic plix trays are inserts in the cardboard boxes and used to display the individual kiwifruit to the consumer; we unpack and dispose the plastic packaging they are stored in. (1.3 tonnes annually)
    • Poi. Although traditionally made from harakeke and raupō, these are lovingly handcrafted by Jaye from packhouse waste plastics. White hair nets, bin liners and netting bags are constructed together to showcase our small daily operational plastic waste. Plastic hair nets are used and discarded daily to maintain food safety standards and plastic bags are purchased and used to manage other wastes. (100,000 hair nets annually)
    • Korowai. A testament to the scale of the issue this design aims to highlight, the cloak was created by Rita. The label backing from fruit stickers and box labels are the by-product of marketing, as each piece of fruit is labelled with a sticker. Although printed with an “Ecolabel” claim, the label backing is industrially compostable, but does not have any established avenues for responsible waste disposal. The trim at the top of the cloak is the label backing from kiwifruit boxes, the feathers are the paper tailings from fruit stickers and the shoulder band is a geometric pattern with indigenous motives made from plastic bags and string. (12 tonnes annually)
    • Pounamu. The pounamu necklace is woven from plastic strapping and is a beautiful accessory that ties the outfit together.

    Inspired by the concept of Kaitiakitanga, this wearable art piece highlights the importance of responsible resource management in horticultural production. Our relationship with and guardianship over our environment have cultural consequences spanning beyond pollution and carbon emissions. Rebuilding the links between people, food, and land is critical, as the loss of biodiversity and degrading environment undermine the cultural identity and heritage of Te Ao Māori.

    Design Team:
    Sarah Lei – Head of Sustainability, Jaye Tumai – Assistant Manager (Operations),
    Manase (Mana)
    Unuia – Trolley Operator, Rita Khabitueva – Postharvest Technical Specialist

    Colin Olesen
    TGL Chair

    Competition with Co-operation

    Thank you to all who attended our recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), including our Western Bay of Plenty Mayor, James Denyer. We thanked Terry Newlands with a gift for his service of just over 17 years as a TGL Director. Jeff Roderick and Steve Wright were declared re-elected Directors for a further term of three years, while Geoff Wylie-Miln was elected as our newest Director. Thank you to Terry Newlands and Paul Singleton for your candidacies for election. I believe it is good for TGL that we have elections, with more candidates than there are positions on offer.

    The AGM took care of all the formal matters that needed to be dealt with. All formal motions required were passed unanimously and the proposed significant change in the Directors’ remuneration received the same support. The Company’s annual financial audit was clean, but unfortunately, it was only signed off two days before our AGM. Steps are being taken to ensure that situation does not repeat itself. If any grower wishes to look over the financials, please ask Debbie or Kelly for a copy.

    Your Directors have resolved to maintain the pool splits for the coming year at the same 50:50 that it has been this past year for Hayward, Hayward Organic, Gold and Gold Organic. Green 14 and Red remain 100% pooled. There was strong consideration given to moving to a 40% pooled and 60% direct to grower split. Why? Because the fundamental of rewarding good fruit performance and penalising bad fruit performance is the hallmark your Directors strive for. In the end no changes were made, but I pen this part of our meeting as it provides an indicator of where the trend is likely to move in the future.

    I often enjoy playing a game, or doing an activity, with our grandchildren. My purpose, not that I am competitive in nature (yeah right), is to win! I am often gently reminded by my good wife, to let the grandchild win sometimes, however, my retort is that when (not if) a grandchild beats me, they can truly be proud and speak of the euphoria of beating grandad, to whomever they want to.

    I look at that situation and think of competition within our post-harvest kiwifruit industry. We, hopefully, co-operate to get the best outcome for all our fruit, but, as in most aspects of life, there are winners and losers. All cannot be winners, neither can all be losers, and occasionally, from year to year, some post-harvest supply entities move camp before moving back again. Competition is good and healthy, it keeps everyone focused and on their game, but at the end of the day, the whole industry must produce good fruit to the market and that is where the co-operation rather than competition can help us benefit. As the whole industry (growers included) sorts out the fruit quality challenges, there must be a combined application of solutions by everyone involved. If we all do it right, all parties will enjoy the gains, from consumer happiness to excellent returns in pricing.

    Christmas is almost here. I wish you all a joyous and peaceful festive season with lots of family togetherness.

    Colin Olesen – Chair

    Upcoming Events

    Zespri Food Safety Symposium

    The Kiwifruit Food Safety and Quality Group is bringing people from the kiwifruit industry together to hear from experts in food safety culture, root cause analysis, emerging risks to the industry and commissioning. Register here.
    When: Wednesday 30 November, 2022. 8.30 am-4 pm
    Where: Trustpower Arena
    Cost: $50.00 per person

    Mystery Creek Fieldays

    Zespri will be at the Mystery Creek Fieldays for the latest industry updates, conversations and catch ups with CEO Dan Mathieson. They will be located at F49 & E48, next to the Fieldays Bar & Eatery.
    When: 30 November to 3 December, 2022.
    Where: Mystery Creek, Hamilton

    NZKGI Roadshows

    This last roadshow will focus on:

    • An update on the industry wide quality review
    • A labour update, including RSE and Fair Pay Agreements
    • The impact of frost
    • Preparation for the Hicane hearing next year

    When: 8 December, 2022. 5 pm
    Where: 271 Bushmere Road, Gisborne

    Zespri Grower Roadshows

    The final grower roadshows for 2022 will be hosted by Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson and colleagues, NZKGI and KVH. The meetings will feature updates on the season forecast, quality review and licence review decision. Register here.
    When: 8 December, 2022. 9 am-11 am