Avocado packer and exporter Just Avocados has revolutionised the traditional field day format for its growers by filming and live streaming their monthly workshops.

“What’s the goal of a field day – to communicate technical information to as many of our growers as possible, so why not give them every opportunity to get the information and get involved in the conversation regardless of location and time,” says Kyra Fielden, Grower Services Rep. for the Bay of Plenty.

Just Avocados hour-long workshops are recorded and simultaneously live streamed to an online members-only platform.  The video is then posted to that platform after the workshop so growers can refer to it.

“Growers that could not make the event or watch the live stream can catch up at a time that suits them,” says Kyra.

Growers who watch the live stream also have the ability to send through questions as they watch which the presenter can answer in real time.

“It’s now up to the grower how they choose to consume this information, it has become really personalised – we have even had some people attend the workshop and watch the live stream on their phone at the same time! Others have tuned in while they are out and about on the orchard,” says Kyra.

The workshops are largely facilitated by Erica Faber, Technical Manager at Just Avocados.

“Although I love one-on-one technical transfer to our growers on their individual orchards, we felt we could reach more growers and transfer information they need in a more timely and efficient manner by offering online delivery. Being able to refer back to a workshop or our growing library of orchard management videos enables growers to access technical information instantly without waiting for an orchard visit. It also helps them to be more confident in tackling orchard tasks on their own,” says Erica.

John Emett, Grower Rep. for Auckland and Northland says rising travel costs, time constraints, and information overload can be an issue with field days.

“We’ve solved all of this and are able to run more frequent events and include all of our growers – they can attend in person, watch live online or watch at a later date,” says John.

Just Avocados grower Diane Pitkeathly agrees saying the live stream and filming is effective if a grower is unable to attend or missed some of the information at the event.

“The workshops offer so much information it is often hard to take it all in. Viewing the filming retrospectively allows one to revise information that may have been missed on the day.  What a great initiative,” says Diane.

Just Avocados implemented the new format in January. Three workshops have been held since then covering one to three-year-old tree management, soil nutrition and assessment, and three to four-year-old tree management.

“Sharing our technical information in this innovative way allows us to get across key points for orchard health more often and keep them top of mind – our main aim is to increase production and profits.  Growers should be thinking of the long-term sustainability of their orchard business and utilising the best methods to achieve a sustainable OGR per hectare,” says Erica.

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