Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


From white gold to kiwi gold

14 February, 2014

From white gold to kiwi gold

Exchanging the dairy farm for kiwifruit vines came down to seeing the golden-sweet potential that was ripe for the picking for Bay of Plenty couple Elaine and Wayne Skiffington.

After 28 years of dairy farming, the couple decided to invest all their efforts into kiwifruit around 12 years ago and have never looked back.

“We saw the potential kiwifruit had to offer and went for it,” Wayne says.

Originally purchasing their 50 hectare property in Pongakawa, in the Western Bay of Plenty 20 years ago for run-off purposes for the dairy farm, it also happened to include a kiwifruit orchard. Not knowing much about kiwifruit but not wanting to get rid of the vines, the couple decided to lease the orchard to Direct Management Services (DMS), while they ran the farm.

After seeing its potential over the following four years and learning as much as possible from DMS through the company’s grower Focus Days, the decision was made to sell the cows and take over management of the orchard.

Sixteen years later and the Skiffingtons still work closely with DMS, which packs and stores their fruit, as well as leasing a storehouse on one of the couple’s two orchard properties.

“We have always felt comfortable working with DMS. They call a spade a spade which is exactly what I like to know,” Wayne says.

The couple were early converters to the new gold variety, Gold 3 (G3), converting some of their vines in 2010, before the Psa outbreak hit the Bay of Plenty.

“We have always been excited about G3 and saw it had huge potential,” Wayne says.

“We first grafted onto vines that hadn’t yielded any crops, so it has been a little slower to take than if we had grafted onto vines that were more established, but it’s very easy to grow. It’s nearly impossible to buy a G3 orchard now because no one wants to sell; it adds huge capital value to a property.”

The couple originally converted four hectares of young Hayward green vines to G3 and have continued to convert their full allocated quota every year since.

They now have a total of seven hectares of G3, all at various stages of development, along with 14 hectares of Hayward green split between their Pongakawa property and a second smaller orchard in Te Puke.

In three years’ time they will be in full production of G3 across both sites, expected to produce more than 10,000 trays per hectare.

DMS director Paul Jones says as innovative and bold growers, Wayne and Elaine have been ahead of the game in terms of G3, with the rest of the industry now catching up.

“A couple of years ago, it was all about just surviving and people were extremely cautious about growing G3 in a Psa environment. But after seeing some outstanding G3 crops in 2013 and with better Psa management, confidence is building.

“We’re on track for another good tasting crop this year; pollination has been excellent and the weather conditions have been favourable as well. Growers are learning more and we have been stressing the importance of ‘getting it right’.”

Kiwifruit has now become an even wider Skiffington family affair, with one of their two daughters and son-in-law recently purchasing a G3 orchard in Paengaroa, encouraged by Wayne and Elaine’s confidence.

The couple’s son has also worked for DMS for the past eight years, transporting packed fruit and equipment, and before that managing the Skiffington’s Te Puke orchard.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Trade: NZ Trade Deficit Widens To A Record In September

Oct. 27 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's monthly trade deficit widened to a record in September as meat exports dropped to their lowest level in more than three years. More>>


Animal Welfare: Cruel Practices Condemned By DairyNZ Chief

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are not in any way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

Tim says the video released today by Farmwatch shows some footage of transport companies and their workers, as well as some unacceptable behaviour by farmers of dragging calves. More>>


Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


International Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news