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Muller K.,The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd | Holmes A.,PlusGroup Horticulture Ltd | Holmes A.,Foundation for Arable Research | Deurer M.,Manawatu Mail Center 11600 | Clothier B.E.,Manawatu Mail Center 11600
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

Assessing the sustainability of orchards focuses on quantifying environmental impacts and resource consumption. Sustainable orchards also have to be profitable and socially responsible. We aimed to identify sustainable kiwifruit production in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, by considering orchards' environmental and economic performance. We conducted a survey of 40 orchards with different cultivars (Actinidia deliciosa 'Hayward' (green) v. Actinidia chinensis 'Hort16A' (gold)) and management (integrated v. BioGro certified organic). Assessment of environmental performance was restricted to greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint of the orchard phase). We defined eco-efficiency on an area basis as NZD net profit per kg greenhouse gas emissions (1 NZD = 0.83 USD, 31/10/2013). Carbon footprints for the cultivars and management systems were comparable. The choice of functional unit, namely land area and 1 kg of produce, did not affect the result. Our analysis revealed fertilizer use and the N-associated emissions as hot spots for greenhouse gas emissions. Opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions arise in the background system of fertilizer production, packaging, storage and transport, and the optimization of nutrient-use efficiency in the orchard. The integrated system had insignificantly higher greenhouse gas emissions than the organic system. Taking into account the profitability of the orchards, the eco-efficiency of organic orchards was significantly higher than that of integrated orchards. We demonstrated that the metric of eco-efficiency can enhance product differentiation for customers and can also assist orchardists to find the most sustainable management system. However, the volatility of commodity markets and changing consumer preferences remain challenges. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Alexander P.,Royal Horticultural Society | Williams R.,Foundation for Arable Research | Nevison I.,Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

With increasing pressure to improve the sustainability of production, UK professional and amateur growers need sound advice regarding water management in different types of growing media but especially newer peat-reduced and peat-free products. Our understanding of water relations in peat, built up over many years of practice and research, needs to be matched for all of the peat alternative materials being used in growing media. This experiment examined the performance of Petunia multiflora 'Frenzy Blue' when grown in four commercially available products (based on either peat, coir, wood fibre or green compost). Five different irrigation regimes, determined by regulated deficit irrigation over the preceding 24 hour period, were studied. The control watering treatment replaced the water lost in this period while the other application rates increased or decreased that amount by 25% and 50%. Dry biomass and plant quality were recorded. Results indicated that, in terms of dry biomass across all irrigation regimes, coir- (P<0.001) and green compost- (P<0.05) grown plants were significantly larger than those grown in peat and wood fibre. Similarly, mean plant quality scores across all irrigation regimes were significantly higher for coir- (P<0.001) and green compost- (P<0.05) grown plants than those grown in peat and wood fibre. It was also evident that the mean quality score was significantly higher (P<0.05) for those plants receiving 100%, 125% or 150% evapotranspiration potential (ETp) compared to 50% and 75% ETp. Whereas plants grown in the green compost-based medium at 100% ETp were of similar or better quality than all other treatments, water use was substantially lower in some cases. For example, production in the green compost-based medium at 100% ETp used eight litres per pot less water over the course of the experiment than in the coir-base medium at 150% ETp but produced plants of comparably high quality. It would appear that, with careful selection of growing media and a detailed understanding of the plant's water requirement, there is potential for appreciable water saving in plant production.

Harvey I.C.,PLANTwise Services Ltd | Craigie R.A.,Foundation for Arable Research | McCloy B.L.,New Zealand Arable
New Zealand Plant Protection | Year: 2015

Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, the cause of tan spot of wheat was first recorded in New Zealand in 1979, but only on wheat seed. However, this pathogen has recently been recorded as causing possible yield losses in isolated crops. A small plot trial set up in a central Canterbury crop of cv. Saracen tested several fungicides alone or in mixtures. Control was not entirely effective since tan spot infection was well established when the first applications were made at GS33 (third node detectible). Nevertheless, two triazoles (propiconazole and prothioconazole) and three SDHI fungicides (isopyrazam, bixafen plus prothioconazole and fluxapyroxad plus epoxiconazole) all gave similar levels of control either when applied alone or in mixtures. Two triazoles (epoxiconazole and difenoconazole) were less effective alone, while addition of strobilurin (pyraclostrobin) to mixtures gave little extra control. Several treatments showed significant increases in green leaf retention and final grain yield. The life cycle of the pathogen dictates that management of the over-wintering inoculum in stubble is a probable essential step in control of the disease. © 2015 New Zealand Plant Protection Society (Inc.).

Rolston P.,Agresearch Ltd. | Trethewey J.,Agresearch Ltd. | Chynoweth R.,Foundation for Arable Research | Mccloy B.,New Zealand Arable
New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research | Year: 2010

The plant growth regulator trinexapac-ethyl (TE) is widely used to enhance ryegrass seed yields by reducing lodging (i.e. delaying collapse of the crop). However, lodging data are usually a single evaluation related to TErate for a particular date of measurement. In eight field trials with varying rates of TE, weekly lodging assessments were made from full head emergence and days to 50% lodging were determined. In all trials, dynamic assessment of TEtreatment showed there was a strong positive correlation (R2=0.82) between the number of days to 50% lodging and seed yield. Nil TEreached 50% lodging in 7 days compared with 33 days for TE treatments of 400 g ha-1. On average, one days' delay in reaching 50% lodging increased seed yield by 24 kg ha -1 (response range 16-33 kg ha-1). The data indicate that TErate per se is less important than the rate required to delay the date that 50% lodging is reached. The seed yield response was linear for delayed lodging from full head emergence to harvest, suggesting that the highest yields are achieved if the crop is not more than 50% lodged at harvest. © 2010 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Dastgheib F.,IWM Consultancy | Poole N.,Foundation for Arable Research
New Zealand Plant Protection | Year: 2010

Aspects of seed biology of ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) and soft brome (B. hordeaceus) were studied in relation to land management practices. Among the practices tested, burning stubble had a detrimental effect on seed survival. The majority of seeds close to the soil surface were charred or non-viable following a stubble fire. Overall, higher brome infestation was measured in no-tillage compared to minimum tillage or burning treatments. More than 80% of the seeds of both species emerged in the field within the first couple of months after planting, and full germination was achieved by spring. Seed burial at depths from 1 to 20 cm did not significantly affect germination but seedling establishment and vigour was reduced with seed depth. Implications of these results in management of brome grasses are discussed.

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