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R&D trial work hopes to enhance bud-break in kiwifruit

Kiwifruit trials

R&D trial work hopes to enhance bud-break in kiwifruit

The Fruitfed Technical Team have been undertaking trials¹ in the subtropical sector for many years, investigating products used to support the kiwifruit and avocado industries.

Dr Elaine Gould has been a Fruitfed Supplies Technical Specialist for subtropicals since September 2020, after spending seven years as an Innovation Leader at Zespri involved in kiwifruit pests and diseases. Prior to that, she spent 12 years as a scientist at Plant and Food Research, mainly working in pest control research.

A key focus of the Subtropical Crop Sector Group is investigating alternatives to hydrogen cyanamide to enhance bud-break in kiwifruit.

Elaine explains: “This topic has become more important since the Environmental Protection Agency proposal to phase out hydrogen cyanamide over the next five years. The aim is to ban its use and a decision about this proposal is to be made this December.”

Without suitable alternatives in place, the removal of hydrogen cyanamide could severely decrease production, particularly for Hayward growers.

“We are working with several companies testing alternative bud-breakers and assessing key parameters to see if they could increase productivity versus using no product at all. One product tested on Gold3 over the past three seasons is Valagro Erger. Assessment of this product when applied at various times before natural bud-break indicates that timing of 37 days before natural bud-break works as well as hydrogen cyanamide. Valagro and Fruitfed Supplies intend to continue researching Erger’s use on Gold3 and Hayward over the next few years. We’re also working alongside our Technical Horticultural Representatives and growers who wish to trial alternatives to determine which products work best for them and how best to use them.”

¹2019-21 Fruitfed Supplies and Valagro trials with Erger in Bay of Plenty