Tuesday, 25 October: From Mihoutao to Kiwifruit

Ross Ferguson: Honorary Fellow, Plant & Food Research, Auckland

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

Photo from: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/94428134/new-red-kiwifruit-developed-by-zespri-in-the-pipeline

Kiwifruit have been a cultivated crop for less than a century in New Zealand and have successfully become a well known fruit by consumers all over the world.

Kiwifruit originally come from China, where they are known as Mihoutao. The kiwifruit of commerce are large fruited selections of Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis (yellow and red fruit flesh) and A. chinensis var. deliciosa (green fruit flesh). The two varieties of A. chinensis differ in the place and timing of their initial domestication. Their domestication resulted from multiple selections from wild germplasm in the case of A. chinensis var. chinensis and from a single introduction of wild germplasm of A. chinensis var. deliciosa to New Zealand.

Ross Ferguson will tell you how, from an introduced plant, kiwifruit became an important commercial New Zealand fruit crop.

Ross Ferguson has been at the Mt Albert Research Centre, Auckland for more than 50 years, working on kiwifruit breeding and improvement. A new male kiwifruit cultivar , ‘Ferguson’, has been named for him and was released in 2019.

He was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in 2007. Ross has published more than 40 reviews on various aspects of kiwifruit biology.

Thursday, 8 September: Towards carbon neutral fruit production

Jim Walker: Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research

Date: 6pm, Thursday, 8 September 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

As global leaders in sustainable production systems, the New Zealand fruit sector must continue to innovate to reduce both agrichemical inputs and CO2 emissions. Regulatory, consumer and environmental concerns over pesticide use are continual challenges for both the agrichemical industry and our apple sector. The pipeline for pesticide development has become more complex, reducing the frequency of new active ingredient availability. Adding to this challenge is the on-going loss of existing agrichemicals and increasingly trade-restrictive phytosanitary measures. Now export markets have signalled the need for our fruit sector to reduce their CO2 emissions with the challenge of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Is this achievable or an unrealistic pipedream? Issues and options for the future of New Zealand’s export fruit production will be presented in this lecture.

Dr Jim Walker is a scientist with Plant and Food Research (Hawke’s Bay) who is well known for his role in the development and implementation of the Integrated Fruit Production programme, an approach to pest management that has become a cornerstone of New Zealand’s apple export programme. He has led a team that has helped apple growers adopt practices that has greatly decreased pesticide use and residues. This programme prioritised greater use of biological control and non-chemical methods and has contributed to a 90% reduction in the quantity of insecticide used in New Zealand apple production today.