Current projects

NZ Avocado leads a number of research projects to better understand avocado production in New Zealand.

The industry continues to suffer from very irregular yields across its 1,800 orchards. A benchmarking project has helped to segment orchard performance into “best”, “good” and standard”.

Research is focused on documenting and sharing the on-orchard management that results in orchard performance in the “best” category.

Field days, Avoscene articles, videos and information on this website are all intended to support the grower improving the performance on orchard.

There is not yet a “recipe” for growing avocados in New Zealand. Each of these projects help to define what that recipe might look like and intends to improve the ability for New Zealand to produce a consistent supply of premium quality avocados.

Research programme highlights

Click the titles below for up to date information on each project.

Canopy management

  • This project will enable a range of canopy management strategies to be made available to the wider industry through a collaborative and systematic process aimed at identifying, documenting and validating the most effective methods to manage avocado canopies.

New cultivars

  • Assess several of the most promising new cultivars available internationally in order to understand how they compare with industry standards under New Zealand conditions.

Tree decline

  • Identify factors contributing to the decline of tree health. Implement remedial actions and monitor trees to assess the effectiveness of remedial actions.

Orchard analysis

  • Identify factors that are contributing significantly to the productivity of the orchards, including irregular bearing triggers at regional and orchard level.

Small trees

  • Determine the viability of intensive plantings in NZ conditions, explore their current challenges and contribute to overcoming these challenges.

Temperature

  • Understand variations of minimum temperature between orchards, parts of orchards and parts of trees.
  • Identify lower temperature thresholds for bud, flower and fruitlet development.

Floral induction

  • Understand the mechanisms controlling flowering to develop techniques to manage crop loads, yield and subsequent return bloom.

Pruning to balance

  • Obtain scientific evidence of the benefits and disadvantages of flower pruning with the hypothesis that pruning can be a valid tool to balance trees.

Irrigation

  • Determine water consumption of avocado orchards in NZ conditions.
  • Evaluate the effect of different management irrigation strategies on productivity.
  • Develop irrigation management tools that can be used by growers.

Post-harvest

  • Better manage the increasing volume of exported fruit through developing inventory and shipping systems that maximize the life and quality of the fruit.

Leafroller mating disruption

  • Develop a suitable mating disruption pheromone blend; existing multi-species MD blends are not specific to the leafroller species known to feed on avocados.
  • Test the effectiveness of mating disruption as a control tool against leafrollers.

Bee- to Bee+

  • Develop techniques to use bumble bees in orchards.
  • Identify ways to manage wild pollinators and increase their contribution.
  • Improve the efficiency of honey bees as pollinators.