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Tauranga, New Zealand

Muller K.,The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd | Deurer M.,The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd | Clothier B.E.,The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd | Holmes A.,PlusGroup Horticulture Ltd
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2016

Kiwifruit is one of New Zealand's highest earning horticultural export products. Our objectives were (1) to compare the financial and environmental performance of organic and integrated kiwifruit production systems, and (2) to identify a sustainable kiwifruit production system in the Bay of Plenty, the most important kiwifruit growing region in New Zealand, postulating that sustainability encompasses both low environmental impact and profitability. We restricted the assessment of the orchards' environmental performance to greenhouse gas emissions and calculated the carbon footprint of the orchard phase. Eco-efficiency defined on an area basis as NZD net profit per kg greenhouse gas emissions (1 NZD = 0.83 USD, 31/10/2013) was our sustainability measure. We conducted a survey of 40 kiwifruit orchards with integrated and BioGro certified organic management systems. The organic orchards were substantially outperforming the integrated kiwifruit orchards in terms of net profit, in spite of similar production costs and lower yields, due to the higher market price. The carbon footprints for the two management systems were comparable. Our analysis revealed fertilizer use and the N-associated emissions as hot spots for greenhouse gas emissions from kiwifruit orchards. 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. 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 in particular the unpredictability of thin markets such as organic produce markets and changing consumer preferences remain challenges. Source


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. Source


Miller S.A.,PlusGroup Horticulture Ltd | Holmes A.W.,PlusGroup Horticulture Ltd | Saunders S.J.,PlusGroup Horticulture Ltd | Taylor R.K.,Ministry for Primary Industries | Mowat A.D.,Zespri International Ltd
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Supplementary pollination with commercially milled pollen is used in conjunction with insect pollination in kiwifruit orchards to improve fruit set. However, with the arrival of bacterial canker in New Zealand, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa-V), pollen production systems and the traditional management of male vines have been questioned. The objective of this work was to test whether Psa-V can survive on kiwifruit pollen throughout the milling process, and investigate the possibility of infecting kiwifruit vines via contaminated pollen. Psa-V was isolated from flowers and anthers that were collected from 30 orchards in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, and was detected at low to moderate levels in all milled pollen samples, using real-time PCR assays. Results were strongly positive for all pollen samples (Cq values from 19-33) and confirmed that Psa-V can survive the commercial milling process. Detection of Psa-V in pollen harvested in 2012 returned stronger positive results than in previous years and probably indicates that inoculum levels are now higher than before. Source

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