Scientists have a secret weapon in their war against wasps – other wasps.
German and common wasp problems cost New Zealand’s primary industries around $130 million a year, but a parasitic wasp whose larvae feeds off their host before killing it is expected to change that.
It’s an idea that has been used with some success since the 1980s, but scientists have discovered the wasps they’ve used in the past might speak the wrong language.
“In order for the Sphecophaga to go undetected in the nest, they may speak the correct language, or dialect, in order to fool their hosts,” Landcare Research biocontrol scientist Ronny Groenteman said. . .
Despite the organic sector’s rapid growth kiwifruit growers might need to do even more to maintain the advantages they have in the marketplace, food marketing expert Professor David Hughes warns.
Hughes, from Imperial College, London, gave growers his take on developments in the booming organic sector that is now topping US$80 billion a year in global sales.
He spoke at Zespri’s inaugural organic dinner, hosted by the marketer to showcase organic produce and give the industry’s small pool of 80 organic growers insight to global developments. . .
With low groundwater levels confirmed by Environment Canterbury today and the outlook for recharge before the coming irrigation season not looking good, irrigating farmers must ensure their equipment and irrigation schedules are up to scratch if they are to survive another dry summer, says IrrigationNZ.
“Preparedness for the coming irrigation season is vital. Poorly operating irrigation systems cost time and water efficiency, not to mention the additional cost to production. Farmers must make sure irrigation systems are operating as efficiently as possible because water resources are already stretched so every drop must be optimised,” says IrrigationNZ Project Manager Steven Breneger. . .
Alastair Bisley has stood down as the Land and Water Forum’s Chair after seven years in the role.
Soon after the Forum was establishment in late 2008, Alastair was appointed its Chairman to moderate a multi-stakeholder consensus on the challenging issue of freshwater policy reform.
The Forum’s recommendations have formed the basis for decisions by Government and regional councils that are progressively deploying its recommendations. . .
NZ commodity prices rise for third straight month; dairy, meat lead gains – Jonathan Underhill:
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a third straight month in July, led by dairy products, aluminium and meat, although the strong kiwi dollar limited the benefits for local producers.
The ANZ commodity price index rose 2 percent last month, bringing its three-month gain to 6.9 percent. In New Zealand dollar terms, prices have gained just 2.5 percent in the past three months and are 5.7 percent lower than in the same period last year. . . .
Nelson company DroneMate is launching a ground-breaking new agricultural farming drone into the New Zealand market that features a multi-application sensor developed by US company Sentera.
Marketed as DroneMate Agriculture, the product costs $5000 (approximately one third of the drone technology currently being used for much agricultural survey work) or $7000 for the deluxe model and is poised to revolutionise the way that aerial survey technology is used by farmers across a range of sectors, including dairy, horticulture, orcharding and viticulture. . .
Māori landowners and honey producers will be buzzing in Rotorua over the next two days (4/5 August) as they attend the He kai kei aku ringa National Māori Mānuka Hui.
Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell, who is opening the hui this morning, says there are major opportunities for Māori landowners in mānuka honey because of rising demand and prices.
“New Zealand exports more than $220 million of honey a year and volumes have more than doubled in the last 10 years in response to rising prices. . .
Big cities dominate early running in NZ young horticulturalist contest:
Search on for 2016 Young Horticulturist of the Year
The New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year 2016 competition — traditionally dominated by the regions — has taken a surprising twist this year with the Auckland and Wellington regions making a clean sweep of early results.
The results so far:
• 2016 New Zealand Amenity Horticulturalist competition winner: Jeanette Barker, Auckland Botanic Gardens.
• 2016 Young Grower of the Year, Andrew Hutchinson, AS Wilcox, Pukekohe.
• 2016 Nursery and Garden Industry New Zealand Young Achiever Award, Daniel Howard, Moores Valley Nurseries, Wellington . .