This page features a compilation and selection of New Zealand seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the Aotearoa.

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.

May 2020

Heaps of horticulture harvested in Hawkes Bay 

This year apple and pear harvest is reported to be ‘one of the largest ever’ reports the New Zealand Herald. Despite difficulties brought on by Covid-19, horticulturalists successfully harvested some 400,000 tonnes of fruit. Of this, about 273,000 tonnes are bound for international markets. In Scoop New Zealand coverage, the New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAP) Manager of Trade Policy and Strategy Gary Jones said the harvest represents a $582m value. Also cited in this article, the mayor of Hastings mayor gave praise to the local harvest.

Call for comment on GM potato lines deemed safe as food 

Food Standards Australia New Zealand on May 22 called for public comment on an application to approve food from two genetically modified potato lines, which have been genetically modified to reduce browning, reduce acrylamide potential and disease resistance to foliar late blight. The application seeks to use the GM potatoes, which will be grown abroad, to process products such as potato starch or pre-cooked potato chips. The lines had already been assessed as per New Zealand’s biosafety regulation, and were declared to not have any “potential public health and safety concerns”, i.e. safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional potato cultivars. The period for comment closes 6pm (Canberra time) 9 July 2020. More details here

Robot dogs could relieve NZ agriculture woes

Labor shortages in the farm sector of New Zealand could prove to be a problem of the past. New Zealand robotics company, partnering with a US company, are looking at the prospect of using a dog-like robot in the agriculture sector, which promises to relieve the need for human labor in herding sheep and inspecting crops, reports Futurism

Start planting garlic, strawberries now: Opinion

An opinion editorial in the New Zealand Herald notes that gardening has become a popular pastime as a result of lockdown measures. The author urges for gardeners to start planting garlic, and strawberries this month for the most optimal end-of-year harvesting prospects, going into depth about the different types of varieties in seasonal cropping factors in New Zealand.

IPM approach for tackling TPP

This article on Aus Veg looks into how the New Zealand and Australia potato industry stakeholders apply Integrated Pest Management principles and technology to address and tackle issues for the past 14 years with the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) and the bacterium it vectors – Candidatus Liberibacter

First flood, now droughts as farmers struggle to source winter feed

A Waikato dairy farmer is seeking to advocate for the state-owned Pāmu (Landcorp) to use land for cultivating winter crops as an alternative feed source for animals struggling due to lingering nationwide drought. Prior to the drought,  farmers had faced flooding, especially in Te Aroha,  Edgecumbe, and Southland, reports Stuff New Zealand.

March 2020

Food producers, truck drivers cleared for New Zealand Level 4 measures drom March 25: New Zealand Herald 

‘Of course we need food, and produce a lot of it, ‘ says Minister of Agriculture: New Zealand Herald

Truckers promise to ‘deliver the goods’: New Zealand Herald

NZ supermarket specs require use of pesticides: Main NZ supermarkets demand perfectly formed fruit and vegetables, which is only possible with pesticides: Fresh Plaza