26 November 2019

In this issue

Mike's Blog

The Real Cost of Vegetables

Only 40% of us are eating enough vegetables and fruit.  This means that 60% are not eating as healthy a diet as they could, which is a huge cost for New Zealand’s medical and health systems.

But the other cost is ensuring that those who grow vegetables can continue to produce healthy food. The cost to the country and consumers will be when the growers can no longer afford to grow...

Read the full article here.
Grower Support
Andrew Barber working with growers on how to meet good management practice at a Farm Environment Plan workshop in Levin.

Overseer™ won’t work for vegetable growers

Farm Environment Plans the way to go

Levin vegetable growers have been told that Overseer™ won’t work for them and that Farm Environment Plans are the best way to demonstrate good management practice.

‘In its current form, Overseer™ won’t work for vegetables, and councils could penalise vegetable growers unfairly if they continue to reference its output limits in consent outcomes,’ says Andrew Barber, who is working with Vegetables NZ and HortNZ to deliver Farm Environment Plans.

‘The five workshops we have run in Levin have provided growers with a step by step process to reduce soil loss and erosion, as well as reduce inputs like water and nutrients, through Farm Environment Plans.' 
Click to read more

Leafy greens among those affected by Canterbury hail

Consumers may be asked to put taste and nutrition above the appearance of leafy green vegetables, thanks to the hail that hit Canterbury last week.  Central Canterbury vegetable grower Allen Lim says he’s been ‘wiped out’ and stands to lose more than $100,000.  

‘I grow around 50 hectares of processed peas and leafy greens, including Pak Choy, cabbages, spring onions and silverbeet, between Lincoln and Rolleston,’ says Allen.  ‘All of these crops have been damaged.  While some may recover, they’re likely to have blemishes on the outer leaves, which most people don’t eat anyway.  If that’s the case, it would be great if consumers could see past appearances and support Canterbury growers by buying these vegetables, as they’ll taste the same and be just as good for you.’  

Allen says Countdown is still taking his spring onions as are other wholesalers even though it is marked by hail.  However, his Pak Choy and silverbeet has sustained too much damage to be of any use. ‘I am thankful for this understanding and support, which will lessen the impact of the hail on my business.’   

In the media this week

Farmers Weekly: Illegal kiwifruit is growing in China
Rural News: Sensible regulations means making it work for all NZers
Newshub: 'Overwhelming' support for industry levy from summerfruit growers

Environment Canterbury Plan Change 7 update

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has received about 600 submissions on Plan Change 7.  These have all been uploaded to their website, along with a summary of decisions sought by all submitters.  HortNZ has reviewed the summary and is pleased by submitters’ support for the new provisions for commercial vegetable production.
‘It is fantastic that the majority of submitters support a separate rule framework for commercial vegetable production.  That is a big hurdle to have overcome.  However, there is still work to do around the particular wording of the provisions,’ says HortNZ Environmental Policy Adviser, Rachel McClung. 

Further submissions

HortNZ is preparing a further submission, focusing on the commercial vegetable production provisions, to show where we align with other submitters, and where we oppose submission points.
Further submissions close at 5pm on 29 November 2019.  If you would like some advice or would like to give feedback, please contact Rachel on 027 582 7474. 
Click to view submissions and read more

MobileTECH Ag 2020 early bird registrations

Early bird discounts registrations for MobileTECH Ag 2020 close on 18 December.  

The conference is being held in Rotorua on 7-8 April 2020.  Early bird discounts are available for both individuals and groups. There is also a special rate for small independent farmers, growers and producers.
Click to register and more info

Horowhenua Taste Trail

The sun came out for the Horowhenua Taste Trail last Saturday. Thousands attended what was a great day out for the whole family, with many interesting things to taste and do.  

Key was the opportunity for people to get behind the scenes to see how fruit and vegetables are grown.  A particularly big thanks to Woodhaven Gardens and Lewis Farms who opened their doors to all.
Good to see biosecurity footbaths in use to keep shoes clean and prevent spreading soil diseases.
Ohau Gourmet Mushrooms had their Pink Oyster Mushroom mini farms on display and for sale.
Genoese Pesto was giving manufacturing plant tours, offering insight into how their pesto is made.
Woodhaven Gardens had tractor tours, plants for sale, and live dance performances from their RSE workers.

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Get in touch with Hugh Chesterman.
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