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It’s a bugs life!

Feature Profile
January 28 2004

It’s a bugs life!


Pipfruit IFP pilot grower Linzi Malley with Hastings Intermediate students checking pheromone traps in the orchard for bug counts

Not only is it a bug’s life, a bug’s life is Linzi Malley’s life.

Linzi loves nothing more than walking around the orchard discovering and then monitoring the bugs that help protect and grow some of the world’s safest and healthiest apples.

She is an ambassador of New Zealand’s Pipfruit Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) programme.

The information she and other growers gather has seen an amazing transformation from high dependence of agrochemicals to one that is now in tune with environmental best practice.


Hastings Intermediate students Ben Chadwick and Joss Larsen recording for their school project

“I love nothing more than being outside and discovering what’s living on the apple trees. There is a whole new world on those trees and it’s amazing how many bugs you find on the back of a leaf,” Linzi says with sheer enthusiasm.

“Since buying the orchard I have made it a challenge to learn about a bug a week and with thousands of bugs this keeps me very busy,” she adds.

Linzi and Dermott Malley moved from Coatesville, near Auckland in 1999 and bought a 150 acre orchard in Pakowhai. They now own or lease a total of 250 acres of orchard blocks in the Meeanee/Pakowhai area.

The Malley’s operation is now one of largest privately owned orchards in Hawke’s Bay. Their orchard has not only had its fair share of mites and other bugs but also children over the last few months.


Hastings Intermediate’s Joshua Price check for bugs with Ben Chadwick and Joss Larsen

Up to 100 Hastings Intermediate school children have visited the orchard to learn about Pipfruit IFP.

“It’s great having children coming out to the orchard and putting the theory about IFP into practice,” she says.

Like Linzi, the students have become fascinated by what bugs live on an orchard.

“It’s has been wonderful seeing the “penny drop” as the children realise what growing apples the IFP way means. Four students have really stood out last term.

“Oriana Kershaw has been “gee whiz” about everything. Her mother told me she doesn’t stop talking about apples. Wiremu Robin just has to be a budding entomologist, wanted to know the name of every living thing he found in the orchard. I disappointed him half the time.

“Dakota Lucas is a potential conservationist, after identifying every beneficial insect he carefully put them back on a tree. And Ben Chadwick for recording everything on video - he got some wonderful close ups of insects”.

“This year I am looking forward to seeing what other talent rises to the surface as we tackle the next stages of orcharding”.

The Malley’s backgrounds provided the perfect grounding for orcharding but as newcomers to the industry and to the region they have never been afraid of asking experienced orchardists questions when getting up to speed with the horticultural industry.

“I came from a family farming background before training and working as a medical technologist while Dermott had a background in merchant banking and agriculture,” Linzi says.

“Moving to Hawke’s Bay was our last big move and this has been a steep learning curve with plenty of reading, attending meetings and asking stupid questions.

“However being new to orcharding had its benefits with the major one being that we were enthusiastic adopters of IFP,” says Linzi.

Linzi and Dermot are strong supporters of Pipfruit (IFP) and like other IFP growers, they now want to be able to tell the IFP story to consumers both domestically and internationally.

“We want to spread the word that these apples are the safest apples in the world.

The Malley’s employ seven fulltime workers and during the season could have up to 100 pickers working on the orchard blocks.

Along with 10 other orchardists they are part of Orchard Crisp, an apple marketing co-op that exports apples to South East Asia, North America, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Dermott, the co-op’s chairman says the group exported 550,000 TCE last year and expects to export over 650,000 TCE this coming season.


Recording bug counts are Hastings Intermediate students Staff Dhillion, Dakota Lucas and Gemma Lenz

ENDS

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