It’s two months since I started as a Grower Services Representative for Just Avocados Ltd. It’s been a delight to work with our dedicated team and to meet very passionate growers while walking through their orchards, learning about the history of their trees and the goals for each orchard, which vary greatly with each grower.

Already I can see the importance of knowing what each grower’s expectations are around harvesting with the potential of higher fruit volumes this season. I will make it my priority to ensure we understand and know what your orchard goals are for this coming season so our operations team can be prepared with the best flow plan for harvesting, packing and exporting your fruit in a timeframe that works for you, your orchard and the markets. Have a good think about your orchard goals, crop estimation and harvest timing. I will be visiting over the next couple of months to discuss season planning.

By the end of February I should be AvoGreen accredited, meaning I can monitor orchards on the spot when visiting.  Looking through the microscope lens is like peeking into a whole other world. I think it’s important to observe not only pests but the beneficial species like ladybird larvae and lacewing larvae that predate and parasitise pests.

Monitoring pests is more important than ever with requirements for exporting but also for local market compliance.  NZGAP is now compulsory with liability falling on LM produce marketers.  I have been working very closely with the compliance team updating records for AvoGreen monitoring, with the Food Act being incorporated into NZGAP and also compliance for exporting to markets like China and Thailand.

We are continuing the small discussion groups this year where we’ll have informal discussions to share ideas, experiences, and provide support in a relaxed environment on orchards. Please register your interest with me by phone or email. We’d love to have you along.

I look forward to working with growers this coming season. If I haven’t met you yet, you will be on my list to see. Please feel free to contact me if you haven’t heard from me already.

– Kyra Fielden, Grower Services Representatives (Bay of Plenty)