NEW ZEALAND: Agriculture and seed industry news and development highlights during the month of January, 2017, covering imported wasps and scale insects to fight giant reed threat; quantifying crop losses that may result from declining bee populations; cherry, apple and onion harvests and the rise of agriculture niche real estate.
Imported wasps, scale insects hoped to solve giant reed weed problem
In a controversial-yet-calculated strategy to protect biodiversity from a prolifically-spreading rhizome, New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application by Northland Regional Council (NRC) to import galling wasps and scale insects from Europe. Through breeding and feeding mechanisms, introduction of the two insects are hoped to be an effective measure to curb the spread and colonization of the giant reed, Arundo donax, which is blamed for smothering, shading out and displacing other neighboring plant species, in addition to causing flooding by blocking streams and drains.
Declining pollinator populations could cost agriculture huge losses
A study by Lincoln University has quantified huge potential losses in crop revenue that could result from declining bee populations in New Zealand. The study, which focused on a commercial pak choy seed production crop, controlled access of key pollinators such as bees, and then measured the effects in terms of seed yields, productivity and fertilization rates. The results were then extrapolated to other types of crops, and by synthesizing their observations with wild and cultivated bee trends, researchers determined that annual losses across the entire food change could equate to NZ$700 million (500mn).
Pea weevil eradication efforts, which included a two-year ban on growing peas, and luring the pest to “trap crops” where they were doused with insecticides, may be enough to save New Zealand’s NZ$150 pea industry, which came under attack by…
The cherry harvesting season in New Zealand’s prime producing region of Otago has gotten off to a delayed start this year due to heavy rains. Last year, the country exported a record of 3,400 tonnes of cherry, worth NZ$68 million ($48.8mn), or about 65% of its total production. About 90% of New Zealand cherries come from Central Otago, and most of them are sold to China and Taiwan as harvesting season coincides with the start of Chinese New Year. The volume of exports this season is still expected to be high, but not as much as last year.
Emerging fruit crop sector spurring real estate demand
Prime horticultural land suitable for apple, kiwifruit and avocado orchards is driving real estate prices up as more seek seek shares in a sector that is expected to be worth NZ$10 billion ($7bn) a year by 2020. Agents have noted an increase in interest in land oriented toward other niche crops including macadamia nuts, vineyards, olive trees and feijoas.
New Zealand apples, onions to feature at major Berlin fruit trade show
The owner of leading fruit and vegetable grower, Bostock New Zealand, is enthusiastic about an impressive apple and onion harvest ahead of the Fruit Logistica 2017. The popular annual trade show will be held in Berlin February 8-10, and is expected to draw 70,000 trade visitors from 130 countries.