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Fruitfed Supplies Pukekohe supports growers on urban fringe

Fruitfed Supplies Pukekohe supports growers on urban fringe

Fruitfed Supplies Pukekohe supports growers on urban fringe

The fertile soils of Pukekohe and Waikato are used to grow a diverse array of horticultural crops with the support of Fruitfed Supplies personnel based in Pukekohe and Cambridge.

More than 5000 ha of vegetables are grown in the area between south Auckland and north Waikato, with around 3000 ha throughout the rest of the Waikato. While the area isn’t as well-known as Bay of Plenty as a kiwifruit growing region, around 800 ha of green and gold kiwifruit thrive here. Undercover crops, such as capsicums, are expanding.

Pukekohe Area Sales Manager Darren O Shea says their Technical Horticultural Representatives (THRs) Jesse Clark and Stephen Hall bring considerable experience to supporting local growers with technical advice. “We can also tap into the collective knowledge of the Fruitfed Supplies Technical team for current best practice recommendations for vegetables and kiwifruit, as well as technical support for agronomy and precision farming expertise.

Gavin Subritzky, Fruitfed Supplies Technical Specialist for Nutrition, is based at our Pukekohe branch and offers great insight into all aspects of crop nutrition across the horticultural sector.”

The demand for softer chemistry and an emphasis on improving the sustainability of crop production are at the forefront of many growers’ future plans. “This is where the work done by our Research and Development team is so important to support the registration of crop protection products which meet the criteria,” says Darren.

Heading south into Waikato, the PGG Wrightson store in Cambridge has recently been rebranded as a Fruitfed Supplies store. This reflects considerable changes in land use in the region and numerous new horticulture developments.

Local THR Grant Robinson embraces variety in his day-to-day grower interactions given the diversity of crops grown in the region, including apples (67 ha), stonefruit (2 ha), nashi (14 ha), strawberries (23 ha), blueberries (more than 660 ha), raspberries and blackberries (20 ha), kiwifruit (415 ha), persimmon (1 ha), avocados (31.5 ha), grapes (1.5 ha), ornamental plant nurseries (16 ha), watermelon (6 ha), vegetables (229 ha) and a small amount of citrus.

With this variety of crops, Grant liaises with Technical Specialists like Elaine Gould for kiwifruit and avocados and Technical Manager Kevin Manning for pipfruit when specific advice is needed to support his local growers. “I also tap into Gavin Subritzky’s specialised nutrition knowledge, and our apple and berry growers get the support of our Pukekohe-based Crop Monitoring team. I attend regular training and technical meetings with our Bay of Plenty THRs.

“There’s considerable support for ongoing R&D within our business, in conjunction with suppliers and, throughout the year, we have seamless back-up for our growers from our Technical team."