Kia ora, welcome to our Kiwifruit Newsletter

Kiwifruit News October 2023 Edition

Stephen Butler
General Manager


As a member of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC), I travelled to China recently to understand more about the unauthorised G3 (UAG3) that is planted. I will give a quick flyover of where we visited, and then a summary of my key observations at a kiwifruit industry level as well as China generally.

Initially, we visited Driscoll’s berry growing operations in Xishuangbanna to understand how they have successfully developed a Chinese supply business over the last 10 years. Following this, we moved to Chengdu in the Sichuan Province, where we visited seven UAG3 orchards, which included some that were monitored by Zespri (their orchard monitoring programme is called the Jin San Project) and others that weren’t. All growers  we talked to were well aware of Zespri, understood the value of the Zespri brand, and did not appear to be concerned that they were growing a PVR-protected variety.

In Chengdu, we visited Zespri’s in-house laboratory, which monitors fruit quality and conducts harvest clearance testing, as well as Sichuan Light Industries, which conducts food safety testing for the Jin San Project. Other visits were to packhouses packing UAG3 – this fruit was being packed into competitor packaging.

In terms of China, I observed three key things:

    1. It is the young generation (25 to 30 years) that are coming through as leaders and entrepreneurs in all organisations.
    2. China is taking food safety seriously, and there is a positive change in consumers now trusting domestic-grown products.
    3. In the near future, I feel they will take over the worldwide automotive industry. Build quality and design are getting there, and they are innovating in terms of electric options.

Coming back to the kiwifruit industry, my view is that the approximately 8,000 hectares of UAG3 will continue to grow. The growers appear to have access to all the information they require to improve their on-orchard practices, which will likely result in greater yields and better fruit quality. As an industry, we need to come together and work out the best way to address the current situation in China, as it’s not going away. I am sure there will be many more discussions to come.

John Lewitt
Head of Operations and Logistics

November ops

  • Avocado packing is progressing steadily with our team packing between 300 and 400 bins per week.
  • The kiwifruit shipping season is now finished, and our focus is currently on preparing for the 2024 kiwifruit harvest season:
    • Our controlled humidity packing system is currently under construction. Steel works have been completed, and the air handler unit and poly panel installation is due to commence shortly.
    • While our automated bulk packing system worked well in 2023, we want to make some minor adjustments to maximise the throughput. Part of this involves adjusting how packs are presented to the stacking area.
    • We will trial an automated layered packing machine in Packhouse 4 during the 2024 season.
  • Pollen harvest is due to start in early November, planning for this is well underway with milling and drying equipment serviced and set up ready to start.
  • Zespri is working through the details of the Official Assurance Programme with MPI for the China export protocol. There will be changes in the orchard monitoring, segregation, and pest investigation requirements space.


Debbie Robinson
Head of Supply

Project Horizon

In consultation with the industry, Zespri have agreed to a significant review and upgrade of their internal systems and processes, particularly in the finance and supply chain. Project Horizon is the name of the overall project, which has been broken into groups of projects (tranches) to sensibly manage the changes required without disruption to business as usual. There are considerable costs associated with such a substantial project, but with the significant increase in trays predicted, and little investment made for many years, change is required if the Zespri systems are to be fit for business going forward.

Tranche 1

Tranche 1 has progressed well, with remediation and improvement projects progressing. Only a few finance and payable items remain to be completed over the next few months.

Tranche 2

A business case for Tranche 2 will be taken to the December Zespri board meeting, putting forward a proposal to continue the project. Tranche 2 includes the start of the business design phase, extended supply chain and quality management, which covers post-harvest integration and the grower payments business design phase.

Also included in Tranche 2 is the development of the new Zespri Canopy project. The project team has been engaging with growers to understand what reporting they want to see. They also intend to start engaging with post-harvest around influencing the content as they migrate from the old canopy solution to the new canopy solution, with a mini launch in December and a full launch in February 2024.

Forecasted Cost

Costs so far are $123 million at the end of last financial year, with another anticipated spend of $20 million this year to cover the Tranche 2 business design, grower enablement and canopy enhancements. They are forecasting $40 million to the end of this financial year and the end of the tranche.

If the board approves the next phase, the project team plans to set up 2‐3 industry working groups, including inventory, supplier payments and technical.

As growers, we can expect to see enhanced reporting available on the canopy and potentially some changes to grower payments, however, we must wait until the design work is complete to know what changes we can expect. We will be sure to keep you updated.

Pranoy Pal
Kiwifruit Technical Manager

Leafroller – a pest of menace causing market restrictions

Following a slightly wet spring, the upcoming summer months are forecasted to be extremely dry, which could be ideal for several kiwifruit pests.

One such pest, leafroller, can also affect several horticultural crops throughout New Zealand. In kiwifruit, the main species are the brown-headed leafroller, Ctenopseustis obliquana and the black-lyre leafroller, Cnephasia jactatana (Figure 1). The larval stage in both species is the most damaging to the leaves and fruit, causing scarring on the fruit by chewing. Larvae are 2mm when newly hatched and grow to 15-20mm. They crawl without arching their bodies.

There are usually 3-6 generations per year, depending on the season and region, as the life cycle rate increases with higher temperatures.

Figure 1. Leafroller species affecting kiwifruit (Photo: Zespri KiwiGreen Factsheet).

A new leafroller species called Orange Fruit Borer (OFB [Isotenes miserana]) has been observed to feed on kiwifruit leaves and fruit. New Zealand first detected it in 2007 and it was positively identified on kiwifruit in mid-2021. Observation work conducted by Plant and Food Research (PFR) indicates that this species was the most commonly observed leafroller species found on fruit in unsprayed kiwifruit blocks last summer.

Figure 2. Orange Fruit Borer (Isotenes miserana) (Photo: Plant and Food Research)

The OFB can bore into a ripe fruit and cause significant damage, including fruit softening and/or fruit drop. PFR is currently trialling available leafroller products (i.e., Bt, Prodigy, Proclaim Opti, etc.) against OFB to determine if they are equally effective in achieving control.

Until proven otherwise, it is assumed these products will be equally effective against OFB as they are against other leafroller species. We suggest maintaining a strong leafroller programme around fruitset and ensuring your orchard undergoes KiwiGreen monitoring during the monitoring period.

Further reading

Bex Astwood
Organic Category Manager

The European Green Deal

Welcome to the October newsletter.

I recently listened to the Organic Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) Lunch & Learn Webinar Series: EU Green Deal: Impact on NZ’s Land-based Primary Producers, which can be found here

The European Green Deal, an ambitious initiative by the European Union (EU), seeks to address climate change, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. The Farm to Fork Strategy, is a key element, which aims to create a sustainable food system. One notable target is transitioning 25% of agricultural land to organic farming by 2030.

For New Zealand’s organic kiwifruit industry, this could be a positive step through shaping  consumer preferences, and could potentially increase demand and export opportunities for certified organic kiwifruit.

Although change is not without challenges. The key policies of the Green Deal that may have an impact on New Zealand’s primary producers include Pesticide Residue Restrictions; where as part of the Green Deal, the EU plans to ban the importation of products containing residues of pesticides and agrichemicals that are banned in the EU. This has the potential to affect New Zealand, where there are disparities in the number of banned pesticides (195 in the EU versus 27 in New Zealand). It also necessitates meeting new compliance standards, which the industry is well-placed to do, given its commitment to quality, sustainability, and compliance.

Overall, the EU’s Green Deal presents a further opportunity for New Zealand’s organic kiwifruit industry through changing customer perceptions, increasing exports and demand for certified organic kiwifruit, and contributing to the global shift towards more sustainable and organic farming.

With pollination approaching, here are some tips for our organic growers to consider:

  • Bee-friendly spraying: Be mindful of your spray schedule, as oils can harm bees. Ideally, apply any sprays well before your bees’ arrival, ensuring the sprayed surface is dry to the touch.
  • Supplementary pollen use: While BioGro permits the use of non-organic certified pollen, it must be submitted as an input for approval. Please submit a request along with a letter from your pollen supplier detailing the pollen source and confirming it is free from additives.
  • Maintain long sward: Keep your grassy areas, or “sward,” longer, especially when flowering plants around. These flowers can provide access to nectar for bees and insects without them having to venture too far.

Following these practices can help ensure the health of your bees and support efficient pollination in your organic kiwifruit orchard.

I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming events – Our Trevelyan’s Organic Field Day on Thursday, 2nd November, and the COKA General Meeting on Thursday, 9th November! 

Sarah Lei
Head of Sustainability

Recycling Week 2023

Back in the day, when the concept of waste minimisation was first introduced, we were all taught the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. While these are still relevant today, quite a few more details have now been added to the waste hierarchy.

Reducing waste to landfill has been a key element of the Trevelyan’s sustainability journey since it first began in 2010. The photo below shows the sort of things we found in our landfill bin when we did our first waste audit in 2011.

As well as the obvious environmental benefits, reducing our waste to landfill helps us make more efficient use of raw materials, packaging and technology, and reduces our waste disposal costs.

We recognise the key role that our people play in supporting our journey towards zero waste to landfill in 2030. Recycling Week takes place in October each year (16-22 October 2023) and provides an excellent opportunity to educate our people about waste initiatives at Trevelyan’s. Each day of Recycling Week has a focus theme to help provide a framework for engagement and activities, see below for our activations of the week:

  • Procurement Monday – We shared some insights into the data we collect around our waste and recycling.
  • Waste-Free Tuesday – Our award-winning Wearable Arts creation was displayed in the canteen for staff to read about and an adjacent station was made for staff to have a go at weaving their own creation from used strapping.
  • Reusable Wednesday – A tour was held to visit our on-site compost and recycling facilities and discuss the processes behind them.
  • Rinse and Clean Thursday – We continued our weekly tip-it Thursdays and shared a video on how to conduct one.
  • Reflection Friday – An extra bin was placed in the line-up opposite the HR portacoms. If people had a waste item that they were unsure where to place, they could pop it in there for clarification.
  • Spring Clean Weekend – We handed the reins over to everyone to have a clean-up around their home or neighbourhood over the weekend.

We also shared information about Recycling Week across our social channels, so be sure to check out the posts there as well if you are interested in finding out more.

Thanks to all the Trevelyan’s staff who took part in the Recycling Week initiatives this year.

Colin Olesen
TGL Chair

TGL update

Your Directors have received and considered a comprehensive analysis on the picking incentives, field harvest audits, and out-turn in the packhouse, focusing on the explosive fruit recorded. This information demonstrated that the picking incentive had a good impact and that it would be easily discernible who the preferred harvest contractors are. If you would like to know what your harvest contractor achieved, I suggest you contact your Grower Representative and ask for the information.

The onshore fruit loss figures have been finalised for the 2023 season, as shipping has finished earlier than usual this year. Apart from Gold Organic, Trevelyan’s have achieved better and, in some categories significantly better than industry average. Appreciation must be given to our coolstore and loadout priority teams who have put in the hard yards to achieve such a good outcome. Trevelyan growers, it would seem this excellent work is the norm, because it seems to occur yearly- take a bow TPCL team!

Our Company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is set for Wednesday, 22nd November 2023.

The formal AGM notice, which will be issued separately, states the time and location. For Director elections, Kyle Howie, Murray Cresswell, Sarah Bragg, and Mat Johnston are standing for the three available positions. Voting closes at 5-p.m. Thursday, 2nd November 2023. Please exercise your vote.

My Chair’s Annual Report will be emailed to all growers shortly. The TGL Audited Financials for the year ended 31st March 2023 are available from Deb or Kelly and copies will be at the upcoming AGM.

The term for our current Associate Director’s, Adam Franklin and Sarah Bragg ends 31st December 2023. Applications will be called for an Associate Director shortly for the 2024 calendar year. Attending is an excellent opportunity for someone to listen and observe your Director’s meetings and participate in the significant range of subjects discussed, perhaps with a view to becoming an elected Director in the future. The application forms can be obtained from Deb or Kelly. Applications close on 23rd November 2023.

I look forward to seeing as many growers as possible attending our AGM.


Kiwifruit Field Days

The Trevelyan’s Kiwifruit Technical Team is dedicated to implementing the latest industry developments, monitoring and analysing specific information from orchards and the packhouse while participating in sector scientific trials. All these insights are shared with our growers and staff so that we can embed and embrace these findings to create successful kiwifruit production, packing and storage, thereby optimising returns.

This month, we have hosted a handful of Field Days. Discussions included the importance of canopy fill, target cropload, thinning strategies, budbreak, spring crop protection, and soil health.

These were highly beneficial educational get-togethers to learn more, bring growers together and encourage collaboration!