Study tour targets pest control

Dec. 6, 2023 | 5 Min read
A Corteva Agriscience funded tour to New Zealand focusing on a range of horticulture and viticulture specific topics on the north island, has been declared a success.

A Corteva Agriscience funded tour to New Zealand focusing on a range of horticulture and viticulture specific topics on the north island, has been declared a success.

Elders, Ace Ohlsson and DJ’s Growers agronomists all took part in the tour which included a tour of Corteva’s New Zealand Headquarters, visits to vineyards and orchards and information sessions from a range of specialists.

Through these activities, the team gained insight into New Zealand’s vineyard management systems and strategies for pest and disease control.

Corteva horticultural and viticultural technical specialist John van der Linden said a key focus of the trip was providing the group with exposure to new and diverse environments and how this can impact management style.

“One of the areas we visited was the Gimblett Gravels, which is one of the world’s first appellations based on soil type.

“The gravel was exposed after the Ngaruroro River changed course, and now it has become a really well-known wine growing region,” Mr van der Linden said.

“It is actually ideal for vines because we can control the grape vigour, and therefore quality. Due to the soils unforgiving nature, we often say that if you can grow wine and grapes in the Gimblett Gravels you can grow them anywhere.”

Agronomist at DJ’s Growers in McLaren Vale James Hook said it was interesting to get a glimpse of some fascinating sectors in New Zealand and to better understand some of the strengths and weaknesses of their operations.

“In some ways, we have found New Zealand is more advanced in its horticulture operations, particularly in spray technology, as they are under more severe disease pressure.

“But then in other ways, particularly in terms of labour management, water use and moisture monitoring, Australia seems to have adopted different solutions. So, it has been incredibly valuable to be able to learn and also share insights,” Mr Hook said.

A key part of the trip was a visit to Corteva’s Global Field Station Waireka, which is used to conduct research and testing at each phase of product development.

Waireka lead Brian Husband said these types of trips are crucial for advisors to understand the whole product pipeline.

“It is really important for agronomists to understand what goes on behind the scenes to get a product registered,” Mr Husband said.

“A lot of people don’t realise just how much work goes into the research and testing phases for new products. We are hoping to equip the group with that knowledge, and then they can go home to their clients, and pass those learnings on.

“It helps everyone to have a better understanding of how buying a Corteva product means you are buying a well-researched product which is safe, and one which works.”

Elders National category manager for crop protection Paul Reynolds said the group was also able to gain an understanding of emerging chemistry which is yet to hit the Australian market.

“Elders is very fortunate to have such a strong relationship with Corteva, as it helps foster access to new molecules that can solve new problems, which may not yet be widely available.

“We are very grateful to Corteva for the opportunity,” he said.

Horticultural agronomist based at Elders Robinvale Molly Black said the tour was a valuable way to build relationships and share experiences to bring back to local growers.

“This trip has been a fantastic way to progress our knowledge and skills.

“New Zealand is doing some amazing things in their horticultural and viticultural sectors, but so are we in Australia. It just comes down to being able to exchange information and ideas to better both industries,” Ms Black said.

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