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Spray season begins for kiwifruit growers

Spray season begins for kiwifruit growers

4 August 2014

The spray season for kiwifruit growers starts this month, and Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working with the industry to minimise spray drift.

Hydrogen Cyanamide, known by the brand name Hi Cane, is sprayed on kiwifruit vines to increase the number of fruit on the vines, promote bud break and ensure earlier and shorter flowering.

In recent years the Bay of Plenty Spray Focus Group, which includes representatives of kiwifruit marketer Zespri, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc, Kiwifruit Vine Health, the public and Regional Council staff have worked to reduce the effects of sprays on the community by using best practice spraying methods.

The kiwifruit industry has also made it compulsory for growers to use low-drift technology when spraying.

Chair of the Group, Senior Regional Council Pollution Prevention Officer John Morris said last spray season the Council received 22 Hi-cane related complaints.

“This was a great result, considering we have thousands of hectares of orchards sprayed annually. We really hope this continues this season,” he said.

“I believe this was a direct reflection on the efforts that everyone has put in over the years since establishing the Spray Focus Group. It is also encouraging to see orchardists and concerned neighbours contacting the Regional Council to clarify and seek advice about spraying.

“All the good work over the past few years can be undone so we need to continue to strive for improvements,” he said.

“The Spray Focus Group would like to see everyone abiding by the Regional Air Plan Rules and adopting a best practice approach to the use of Hi Cane. It’s a timely reminder for orchardists and spray applicators to take extra care.”

Spraying close to schools, kohanga reo and other sensitive areas requires extra caution and communication was required.

Sprayers needed to make sure their notification list was updated.
Contractors and sprayers needed to take extra care, including considering increasing buffer zones when there were inadequate shelterbelts between property boundaries or public roads.

“If anyone is concerned about a neighbour spraying, contact the Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883. This is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mr Morris said.

Honorary wardens provided by kiwifruit growers’ organisation NZKGI have been trained to investigate complaints immediately, and Rural Post delivery staff are also trained to recognise and report any problems.

Ends

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