New Zealand touts low residues
The New Zealand apple industry has completed its N.Z.$2.7 million Apple Futures project that was designed to strengthen the country’s ability to produce high-quality fruit with ultra-low pesticide residues to satisfy European customers.
The three-year project just ended its final season and exceeded all of its performance milestones, according to information from Peter Beaven, chief executive of Pipfruit NZ, Inc. The project helped growers adopt a pest-management program that requires that products with a longer residual life be used early in the season and substituted with short-residual-life products later. It also requires extensive monitoring of pest and beneficial organisms and use of biological controls during the season, along with cultural controls applied during harvest, postharvest, and during the dormant season. This ensures the minimum number of applications of products required to control pests.
Technical advisors, including experts from Plant and Food Research and Pipfruit NZ, continuously refined the program and worked with growers, advisors, and consultants.
More than two-thirds of New Zealand’s apple growers joined the program and were able to produce good quality export grade fruit with residue levels less than 10 percent of the maximum residue levels allowed in the United Kingdom and European Union markets. Beaven said in a press release that he believes that New Zealand now produces the safest apples and pears on the planet, as a result of the project.
As a spinoff from the project, the industry has launched a marketing program to tell the New Zealand apple story in offshore markets. A new Web site www.pro duceofnewzealand.org has been constructed, and the industry has developed a country-of-origin mark, “100% Pure Apples from New Zealand,” to build on its image in export markets.