Avocado exists to support its grower members by promoting avocado consumption and advancing the avocado industry. Here is some of the key news and activity undertaken recently.


March 2021

Grower support

New growers make themselves known when they apply for a PPIN. Across the team we are trying to call each new PPIN to make sure they have received their new grower pack and to find out a little more about them. Glenys, Brad and Catherine are hosting training sessions at each packhouse in March for the new AvoDiary. This will replace the spray diary, a 14 year old system that still meets our needs operationally, but its technology is no longer supported. Growers who complete their own chemical and fertiliser diary are strongly encouraged to attend one of the training sessions.

Industry systems and quality

Two weather stations have been set up in Mangawhai and Whangarei and fruit staining symptom monitoring has commenced on three orchards. This is to assist in identifying the relationship between climate and fruit staining symptoms, as well as climate and its impact on fungal load.
We have a great opportunity to study the change in total copper levels in soils as part of our quality project. 110 orchards (130 samples) have been resampled to compare the total copper in the soil from 2006 to 2021. In 2006 the samples were part of an NZ Avocado study of total copper levels at the time. The change in total copper levels (if any) and number of copper fungicide applications from growers spray diaries will be analysed to identify any potential correlation.

Orchard productivity

Soil moisture management workshops have been hosted in the main growing regions to help growers understand their soils, tree water use and how best to manage soil moisture to minimize tree stress and the risk of leeching nutrients away from the root system.
We have been engaging with industry consultants and technical representatives to identify the need for additional grower resources in the fertiliser area and providing feedback and input on current research activity and future direction.
A trial has been established in Te Puke growing avocado on trellis. The tree architecture being trialled is aiming to maximize light interception of the canopy to maximize orchard productivity.
The High Performance Soils project has commenced and will be the first to collect the combination of chemical, physical and biological soil characteristics and look to correlate them with fruit quality and yield. Outcomes will help inform the value of nutritional programmes, provide nutritional and biological benchmarks from high performing orchards (yield and quality) for growers to compare themselves to. The first project planning meeting has been held and orchard sampling will begin at the end of March.

Promotions and market development

The first New Zealand avocado promotions campaign in Taiwan was undertaken to support exporters to develop this market. A social media campaign and influencer promotion activity reached 413,000 consumers in Taiwan.
In New Zealand avocados have been promoted throughout summer with television and online advertising, 85 supermarket avocado sampling sessions and a competition to find New Zealand’s biggest avocado lover.
Consumer research has been undertaken in key export markets during the summer months to test new concepts for a differentiated story for avocados from New Zealand. The work has identified some attributes in New Zealand avocados that have stirred a high level of interest from the consumers in the market. The outcome of this project will be an updated differentiated New Zealand avocado story for use in the 2021 season and beyond.

For more on promotions please click here

Stewardship, engagement / industry representation

As we finalise this edition we have been advised that the Bay of Plenty Young Grower competition which we sponsor and run an activity in, has been postponed due to Covid until after the kiwifruit harvest. Our activity is to test contestants on how to undertake an avocado tree planting.
The first Plant Market Access Council happens in late February in Wellington. This government/industry meeting discusses relevant and timely issues with market access for plants from NZ. We are seeking market access to Vietnam for avocados and are working to finalise the health standards to allow avocado germplasm to be imported into NZ.

Our CEO attended her first Produce Marketing Association board meeting by Zoom in February. PMA-ANZ is an affiliate of PMA US, and assists produce businesses to increase their sales of fresh and safe produce to regional and global consumers and develop their internal business capabilities through motivated and skilled employees. The board is made up of produce leaders across the two countries and provides excellent networking opportunity.

December 2020

Grower Support

More than 200 growers registered to attend field days held by NZ Avocado in the Bay of Plenty and Mid North regions. These events focused on soil moisture, crop load and tree health management – all things that assist in maximising fruit size profiles.
Research and technical staff, both from within and external to the industry, have met to discuss key industry challenges. How current and future research and innovation can continue to support industry growth has been a key discussion point. The outcomes from these regular meetings help define NZ Avocado research planning.
Two growers’ forum events were held in Whangarei and Tauranga during October and November, attracting more than 140 attendees across both events. Growers received updates and information on orchard productivity, fruit quality, biosecurity, market updates and best practice on orchard to improve orchard productivity.
Workshops for growers to contribute to the industry review took place at the grower forum events during October and November. For more information on the industry review, click here.

Industry systems and quality

Year two Avovantage data collection has begun, with tree assessments, harvest and fruit assessments complete.
The industry has worked alongside MPI to extend the China access protocol which was due to expire in November 2020. This has resulted in China agreeing to a number of positive changes, including a reduced fruit sampling/inspection rate at the packhouse.
Two new weather stations have been installed in the Mid-North region to look for correlations of weather factors with the onset of fruit staining.

Orchard productivity

Orchard visits and fruit size monitoring on several orchards is pointing to three main factors contributing to achieving good fruit size. These include not overcropping trees, good soil moisture management and healthy trees.
Potential pollination windows are now being published in Avoconnect to help inform growers about potential fruit set. It is hoped this information will support grower decision-making about fertiliser and irrigation inputs through the critical fruit set and early fruit development periods.

Biosecurity

The Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital held their annual symposium in November where Penny Nelson, Deputy Director General of Biosecurity New Zealand and Professor Juliet Gerrard, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, where two of many speakers that highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on our regions and individual sectors.
The avocado industry has been selected to be on the newly formed Plant Germplasm Import Council (PGIC). The council will ensure the plant germplasm import pathway supports the commercial needs of a developing horticultural sector, while maintaining strict biosecurity measures to protect New Zealand.

Promotions and market development

NZ Avocado has reduced the promotion budget for China, Korea and Japan for the remainder of 2020 due to significant reduction in New Zealand volumes to these markets compared to the forecast at the beginning of the export season.
Some 14,000 hungry runners and 35,000 supporters were fed avocado on toast at the ASB Auckland Marathon in November. NZ Avocado was the official avocado partner of the event and title sponsor of the NZ Avocado 5km race. The partnership with the Auckland marathon was a great match to promote the unique nutrients of avocados to New Zealanders on a health and wellness journey.
The October burst of NZ Avocado television and TVNZ OnDemand advertising performed well, reaching 226,000 of our household shoppers with kids audience through television, and a further 62,000 people online. Thirty “grow your own avocado from a seed” packs were sent to lifestyle and fitness influencers around New Zealand in October, to raise visibility of the New Zealand grown provenance of all of our avocados ,consumed in New Zealand. Many of the influencers, including heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker, posted about the pack to a combined audience of around 350,000
followers.
The first industry promotion campaign in Taiwan launched in October. The campaign will run through to January 2021, focusing on connecting the New Zealand avocado story with target consumers in Taiwan through a social media campaign and influencer promotion activity.
An exporter workshop was held in November to continue development of a differentiated story for avocados from New Zealand, with a focus on markets in Asia where volumes from South American supply countries continue to increase. Multiple stories leveraging the unique qualities of avocados grown in New Zealand will be developed and tested with consumers in key markets, to identify a story that is differentiated, defendable and that compels consumers to purchase.

Stewardship, engagement / industry representation

Analysis of total copper soil samples for the 2019-20 season is complete. This is being done all to understand the impact of copper on soil health. Further monitoring programmes will commence January 2021.
The industry has started the data collection process with Massey University and Plant & Food Research to collect information from growers, packers and exporters to measure the carbon footprint/emissions, nutrient loss, water needs and eco toxicity potential for New Zealand grown avocados. The resulting eco credentials will not only benefit the differentiation of NZ avocados in market, it will help direct changes to climate and water policy and resulting environmental compliance requirements for growers.
The industry is working with growers to benchmark
the Environmental Management System (EMS) Add– on against existing GAP programmes to ensure the upcoming regulatory requirement for Farm Environment Plans can be completed within existing grower compliance systems.