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New faces brings experience to Crop Monitoring for Summerfruit and Pipfruit

Crop Monitoring Services

New faces brings experience to Crop Monitoring for Summerfruit and Pipfruit

Four new regional Coordinators, with an array of skills and backgrounds in horticulture, have joined the Fruitfed Supplies Crop Monitoring team in recent months.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Anton Herselman now calls Bay of Plenty home. He studied in the United Kingdom to complete a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in agriculture before working in Germany for a global tobacco company where he managed the training and development programmes for agronomy technicians in Brazil, Africa and Asia. Having moved to New Zealand, Anton enjoys running his own avocado orchard alongside his new role with Fruitfed Supplies.

Anton says: “This role offers a great opportunity to learn more about avocados and the industry, while also being able to work with and support other growers by providing an important pest monitoring service.”

He says this season has included a wet spring and an extended dry summer spell has affected pest numbers. “But overall insect pest pressure is in line with long-term trends and similar to the previous two seasons.”

Luke Bottriell brings ten years’ experience as a fruit and grape grower to his role as the new Crop Monitoring Coordinator for Hawke’s Bay. He’s always enjoyed the technical side of horticulture and developing his knowledge.

“There are two things that particularly interested me about this role,” Luke explains. “First, monitoring for pests and diseases requires wide knowledge across the crops we cover, which include pipfruit, stonefruit, wine grapes and vegetables. Enabling our staff and growers to learn to get have the best outcome for their crop each season is something I’m passionate about. Using that pest and disease information to develop greater understanding of each crop is vital. Secondly, I enjoy working with people, understanding our growers’ needs for crop monitoring and how we can help and support them.”

Luke also notes: “The Hawke’s Bay growing season to date has experienced a slightly higher incidence of downy mildew than previous seasons and Crop Monitoring personnel have noted banded fruit weevils are more prevalent in the region.”

Dr Anna Graham, the new Coordinator for Marlborough and Nelson, has completed a Masters on carbohydrate accumulation during dormancy and its effect on budburst and graft formation, and did her PhD thesis on young vine decline. She drew on her expertise with the management of pests and diseases for two major grapevine nurseries before following her other key area of interest, food science, in Australia developing and commercialising fermentation products for human and animal food, and manufacturing ingredients for global food companies.

“Returning from Australia, my husband and I decided to settle in Blenheim,” Anna explains, “where I returned to my interest in grapevine diseases, but from the perspective of commercial viticulture. The role as Crop Monitoring Coordinator at PGG Wrightson, so far has proven to be very interesting as I visit a wide range of vineyards during the busy growing season and build a team of Crop Monitoring Scouts in Blenheim and Nelson to get data and reports out to our clients.”

With a lifelong interest in plant life and biology and two plant-related qualifications to his credit, Pete McNaughton has been with Fruitfed Supplies since early 2020 as a trainee Technical Representative. He participated in the company’s internal Academy programme before starting as Canterbury’s Crop Monitoring Coordinator late last year.

Pete loves the diverse array of crops grown in Canterbury from apples, wine grapes, vegetables and amenity plants. “I think the future of Crop Monitoring is exciting, as growers push for stronger integrated pest management and traceability of food products in line with consumer demands. Our Crop Monitoring team is in a good position to support growers with the provision of an independent service to ensure New Zealand grown food is of the highest quality for the world market.”

“So far it’s been a good growing season with low disease pressure,” Pete adds. “It’s also been very windy which helps keep aphid populations lower than usual. We've had regular feedback from the tomato-potato psyllid expert at Plant & Food Research which supports the data we provide growers with psyllid trends. Apple growers look to be on track for a bumper harvest and wine grapes are also looking promising.”

Max Spence, PGG Wrightson Precision Manager, says it’s pleasing to see the refreshed Crop Monitoring team working hard to add value for growers across all major horticultural crops. “Our regional Coordinators and highly-trained Crop Monitors are here to support growers with accurate, timely crop monitoring data which allows well-timed crop protection decisions and information required for audit and tracking purposes.”

For more information about Fruitfed Supplies Crop Monitoring, contact your regional Coordinator.

Northland – Lea Sorensen, 027 592 2624
Pukekohe – Carmen Pieterse, 027 363 8802
Gisborne – Angela Dolman, 027 622 2376
Bay of Plenty – Anton Herselman, 027 258 2372
Hawke’s Bay – Luke Bottriell, 027 473 2298
Marlborough/Tasman – Anna Graham, 027 244 9949
Canterbury – Pete McNaughton, 027 359 2409