On 17th August, growers and industry joined the TomatoesNZ (TNZ) annual general meeting, which was held online and in Pukekohe. The AGM saw the election of Ben Smith to the board and approval of the 2022-23 budget. The Annual report is available to download on the website here.
Ben Smith, General Manager of covered crops at T&G, spoke about his experiences of dealing not with one but two possible incursions in the same crop when they first suspected Tomato Brown Rugose Virus and later had a positive test for Pepino Mosaic Virus in the very same plants. This unfortunate coincidence did have some positive outcomes, though, as Ben spoke about how quickly and efficiently the MPI response team worked in the first few weeks after identification and also how helpful both Helen Barnes (former TNZ general manager) and Barry O’Neil (TNZ Chair) were in leading the communications on behalf of the growers with MPI.
Stefan Vogrincic from Grower2Grower spoke about all the different elements to consider when planning the perfect irrigation system for crops. From substrates to delivery, water temperature and quality, to the active climate, there are many, many factors to get right, and even with monitoring, it can be hard to judge if the plants are getting the perfect amount of water. As plants are yet to develop voices audible to humans, electrical signals are the next best thing to understanding what is going on. The use of the latest technology can be extremely beneficial.
Celia Wells spoke about the latest research and developments from GNS Science around ground source heatpumps as a sustainable way of heating commercial greenhouses. She also talked about research into capturing CO2, which does not involve heating.
Marcus Baker from ApricusEco concluded the talks with an overview of how Ofoken pellet boilers work and what is involved in terms of costs, location, and costs involved.
Read more about the meeting at www.tomatoesnz.co.nz.
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