Editor Shannon Dininny and Photojournalist TJ Mullinax are in New Zealand, covering the study tour organized by the International Fruit Tree Association. New Zealand is known for its new varieties, innovative growers and fruit research.

Dininny and Mullinax will be doing live tweets at the Good Fruit Grower twitter account and Good Fruit Grower Facebook account.

Here are highlights of the conference planners:

Shannon Dininny

Shannon Dininny

  • Robotics in tree fruit production with presentations and panels by Steve Saunders, Robotics Plus and Dan Steere, Abundant Robotics.
  • Grower panel to discuss designing robot-ready canopies. Panelists include Jeff Cleveringa, Starr Ranch in Washington; Crag Hornblow, Ag First in Nelson; and Mark Trzaskoma, Battunga Orchards in Victoria.
  • Presentation by Lee Kalcsits, Washington State University, on benefits and risks of integrating protective netting into apple production.
  • Practical horticultural strategies for reducing bitter pit in apples
  • Ross Wilson of AG First NZ, Hawkes Bay will discuss how and why to benchmark orchard performance.
  • IFTA business meeting and “get to know your IFTA Board of Directors” Q and A.

“Covering this tour is one way we invest in the excellence of our magazine. Editorial IFTA tours are always excellent and we appreciate our strong partnership with IFTA to serve growers,” said Casey Corr, Good Fruit Grower managing editor. “Watch for our live reports and in-depth reports in forthcoming print issues of our magazine. Subscribe now if you aren’t getting the magazine.”

TJ Mullinax