Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Organic pipfruit research goes holistic

13 May, 2002

Organic produce - it may or may not taste better, it may or may not be better nutritionally but HortResearch has made a commitment to increase and broaden research into organic pipfruit production.

According to HortResearch scientist Jim Walker, current organic pipfruit production in New Zealand is not sustainable for the future.

“Current practices see yields declining in certain varieties,” said Dr Walker.

After a long hard look at organics HortResearch scientists have made a commitment to develop a more holistic approach to fruit production and this could provide answers for sustainable organics. The area dedicated to organic fruit production research at the HortResearch Hawke’s Bay site will be significantly increased this spring.

One focus will be gaining a better understanding of organic management on the performance of conventional varieties and promising new selections with natural resistance to diseases. Alternative rootstocks will be assessed to overcome the loss of vigour seen in some conventional cultivars under organic management.

Weed control can be difficult under organics, especially when developing new organic plantings. Trials will look at various ways of weed management to find the most practical methods to manage the understory in new established organic orchards.

To help with the trials a new piece of equipment, a tillage device, has been developed to evaluate a European concept in organic weed management called the ‘sandwich system’. . This confines understory vegetation to a very narrow strip in the tree line while lightly cultivating the balance of the under-tree zone and replaces the need for herbicide use.

The holistic approach includes the nutritional levels, alternative rootstocks, blackspot and mildew resistant varieties, soil management and how all these impact on tree growth and performance, yield and fruit quality. There will be a particular focus on orchard ecology, using flowering plant species in diversified understory plantings to optimise the role of beneficial insects and soil microbial activity.

“What we are doing is developing a more broadly integrated approach and thinking beyond the crop protection issues,” said Dr Walker. We have identified that through this approach to organic management more may be achieved than the single ‘reductionist’ scientific approach.

“As organic production becomes more mainstream we have to come up with better ways to manage the orchards using all the disciplines.

“We have been working with organics since the early 1980s, but it has been the last few years when the market was demanding organics that it has finally taken off,” said Dr Walker.

For example codling moth mating disruption was developed and was a technology largely sitting on the shelf until grower interest developed in organic apple production. It is now the basis for successful organic pest management.

Dr Walker said researchers initially looked at organics from a pest management angle, then disease management, and the key tools in use now have come from those areas. But now a broadly based focus was essential for continued and sustainable growth in organic fruit production.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Collecting Scalpers: Commerce Commission To Sue Viagogo

The Commission will claim that Viagogo made false or misleading representations: • that it was an “official” seller, when it was not • that tickets were limited or about to sell out • that consumers were “guaranteed” to receive valid tickets for their event • about the price of tickets... More>>


Price Of Cheese: Fonterra CEO Goes Early After Milk Price Trimmed

Aug. 15 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra Cooperative Group chief executive Theo Spierings is leaving the role early after the world's biggest dairy exporter lowered its farmgate payout and trimmed its dividend to retain cash. More>>


9.2 Percent: Gender Pay Gap Second-Smallest On Record

This is the second-smallest gap since the series began 20 years ago. In comparison, the gender pay gap was 9.1 percent in 2012 (the lowest on record) and 9.4 percent last year. More>>


Forest & Bird: Report Find Council Failures On Effluent

The report exposes significant inconsistencies and gaps in how regional councils are enforcing the rules around dairy effluent management. More>>


Mana In Mahi: Helping Young New Zealanders Into Work

Thousands of young people will be given the chance to gain valuable qualifications and meaningful work under the Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work scheme launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today. More>>


Reserve Bank: Official Cash Rate Unchanged At 1.75 Percent

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) remains at 1.75 percent. We expect to keep the OCR at this level through 2019 and into 2020, longer than we projected in our May Statement. The direction of our next OCR move could be up or down. ... More>>