Attention HB orchardists
Innovative weed control project launches in Motueka, why not HB?
Added one year ago
A December 12 article in Farmers Weekly began with this paragraph …
“A battle is underway in an apple orchard in Motueka (as we began reading, we were eagerly anticipating the words, ‘Hawke’s Bay’) as researchers watch to see if groundcover plants will see off weeds and reduce the need for herbicides.”
The trial got underway in October on Willisbrook Orchard at Hope, near Nelson. Seven different seed species with different attributes – sheep’s burnet, bird’s foot trefoil, plantain, strawberry clover, alyssum, chicory, common yarrow – have been planted under the trial rows of apple trees. The aim is to establish whether all or some of these plants can outcompete weeds – and even improve soil quality – without any detrimental impact on the trees and their fruit.
Seems like a well-conceived project with major operational and sustainability implications. Good on them.
But why Motueka we ask with envy?
NZ Apples and Pears (HQ’d in Hastings) and Plant and Food Research (with a facility in Havelock North) are partners in the project.
And isn’t Hawke’s Bay the ‘fruitbowl of New Zealand’? We must have a bevy of innovative orchardists. More than just Craigmore’s Springhill operation in CHB, on whom we’ve reported previously in this newsletter, here and here.
C’mon HB orcharding innovators … raise your hands. Tell us what you’re up to. We’ll be proud to report on you.
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