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.

Cancelled: Thursday, 3 February: The Future of Regenerative Farming – practical experiences at Mangarara, Hawke’s Bay

Greg Hart, owner of Mangarara Farm and Eco Lodge

Date: cancelled

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT Taradale, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Regenerative Agriculture (RA) is an ecological model that aims to correct perceived failings in our current systems of agriculture. The RA movement acknowledges that farmers can mitigate or reverse the negative impacts of the way that animals and plants are currently raised and grown for food production but suggests that they can benefit themselves at the same time. RA is touted as a part of the solution to reverse climate change, biodiversity loss and declining water quality, whilst improving the wellbeing of rural and farming communities and the quality of the food produced.

source: Mangarara, The Family Farm & Eco Lodge

However, there is a lack of clarity about what RA actually is, scepticism about its claimed benefits, and uncertainty whether or not it is relevant to New Zealand farmers and agricultural production.

In this lecture, Greg Hart will talk about his practical experience of applying regenerative agriculture at Mangarara, how to provide a stable financial platform for the continued restoration of the ecosystem, and innovating regenerative farming practices.

Greg Hart has made the switch from a traditional sheep station with typically 3,000 ewes to a diverse stock of approximately 1000 ewes, 500-1,500 lambs, 20-40 dairy cows, 60-100 Berkshire pigs, 150 Angus heifers and 100-200 other cattle. Meat is sold both locally and in Auckland. Over 100,000 trees have been planted and the quality of the soil is actively monitored and managed.

At the end of this lecture, you will have an idea about how a diverse and integrated farm can maintain the balance between ecosystem restoration and the production of healthy, nutritious food.