2023 AGM Chair’s Report

Last year we held another successful Winter Seminar Series with presentations on:

  1. An overview of the Australian Hazelnut industry
  2. Follow up on big bud mite spraying – Les McCracken
  3. The Oregon Hazelnut industry – Clive Kaiser
  4. Julio Bolero presented on his PHD results
  5. Murray gave an overview of his 40 years in the industry.

Recordings are available for members to view online.

With the easing of COVID restrictions we were able to hold an in-person field day in November visiting a number of orchards in Canterbury.  This included Clive Kaiser from Lincoln University providing some key thoughts around pruning and light penetration – resulting in a few members taking chainsaws to some trees to “see what happens”.  As part of this field day the committee got together and worked through a business plan for the Association to help push forward the industry over the next few years.

In September a working bee was held at Rose McDermott’s orchard to help her tidy up the trees ahead of selling the property, following the sad parting of her husband, Tim.  A big thank-you to all the members who turned up to help.

A very wet harvest season has made harvesting challenging in many parts of the country.  I feel for the horticultural industries in the Hawkes Bay and the Gisborne area that have really struggled with the impacts of cyclones and many heavy rain events.  My own experience was a very extended harvesting season and much work for the dryer.  However – surprisingly – it might be my second best harvest ever.

Committee – I would like to thank the members of the current committee for the time that they have put in during this year, Paul Rollin, Michael Petherick, Murray Redpath, Deb Whiteside, Grace McGowan, Ross Smith.   Alison Bentley who joined during the year and Sarah Shore for her work on the newsletter.

The full report is available here.

2023 AGM Summary

The AGM was help on Tuesday the 27th June via Zoom.  A total of 17 members attended the meeting and a number of key items were discussed.

2023/24 committee:  The current committee, with the exception of Ross Smith put their hands up to server for another year.  No new members were nominated for the committee.  The members approved the new committee members as follows:

Peter Barrowclough – Chair
Paul Röllin

Alison Bentley
Deb Whiteside
Shane McKenzie
Michael Petherick
Murray Redpath
Grace McGowan

Michael presented the Treasurer’s report, which showed a total income of $4,353.23 for the year ending 31 March 2023.  The Association’s closing balance on the 31 March was $46,398.08.

Full accounts are available here.

Paul presented a summary of the business plan developed by the committee during their face-to-face meeting in November.  The plan is designed to help the Association better achieve its aims of:

  1. Grow the domestic industry: Growers, processors, consumers.
  2. Facilitate, collate, and participate in research to increase profitable supply from existing and new plantings. Key research areas: Growing techniques/methods; Nutrition; Environment; Improvement of plant genetics
  3. Facilitate and promote transfer of knowledge to support members via seminars, field trips and online communication (website, newsletter etc);
  4. Engage in an active liaison with other relevant organisations.

To support these aims the key points of the 2023/2024 strategic plan are:

  1. Improve profitability of growers
  2. Increase local production
  3. Education of growers and support for research to improve the industry
  4. Increase public awareness and perception of NZ grown hazelnuts
  5. Ensure the industry is sustainable and diversified

The committee has proposed employing a part time executive officer to help the committee push forward with this plan.   The aim is for this officer to assist in areas such as event organisation, funding applications and general support for the committee and Association.  The committee is looking to apply for funding to help with studies around pruning and other agronomic areas such as understanding flower induction, irrigation, fertiliser usage and pest management to improve yields.

To help with the funding of this role the committee has suggested increasing the membership fees to $90 for the 2023/24 year on-wards.

This was unanimously accepted by the members at the AGM.

The Association business plan is available here and the Association strategy document is here.

Full meeting minutes are available here

Flowering induction mini-research trial

Following on from the discussions on flowering at the November 2022 field visit to Lincoln, we’re keen to learn more about optimal timing and manner of pruning. The research would involve recording:

  • dates when you prune trees, to help us identify timing (a running log as you move through your orchard)
  • basic description of your style of pruning (topping vs removing outside growth)
  • sunshine and temperature at each timing point
  • extent and timing of flowering the following winter

We’d like as many members as possible to contribute, so we can also understand the effect of location and cultivars. If you’re interested in joining this project, please contact secretary@hazelnut-growers.org.nz.

North Island growers meetup

While the bulk of our growers are in the South Island (mainly Canterbury and Nelson regions) we have a fair few in the North Island – and more joining all the time.

Location of HGANZ members

In late 2022 a few asked about organising catch-ups with other near-by growers so that they can exchange information and just chat about hazelnuts.

As a group we have now had 2 meet-ups with various numbers of members being able to attend. These meet-ups have allowed members to connect with others near-by and to also ask questions and share their knowledge. For now they have all been online (using Zoom) but hopefully later this year an in person one can be organised.

Any North Island growers who would like to join in, just drop Paul an email – paul@rehuaorchard.co.nz

One of the North Island growers is looking to create a list of what harvesting/processing equipment others in the North Island might have, with the aim of circulating it as both a source of information for others looking to purchase such equipment (nothing better than a review from a real user) and also to create an “open to borrowing/lending” register. If you are interested in sharing your equipment information then drop Peter an email at littlebartonharvest@outlook.com

International Hazelnut Congress 2022

The International Hazelnut Congress is the industry’s leading event to share advances in research and industry. In September 2022, the Congress will be held in Corvallis, Oregon (USA).

Invitation from the conveners:

The International Congress on Hazelnut has been organized every 4 years in different countries for over 30 years. Academics, researchers, farmers, private companies and governmental organizations from many countries attend the congress.

Topics of sessions:

  • Breeding, genetics, and germplasm
  • Biology, physiology, rootstocks, and propagation
  • Orchard management
  • Pests and diseases
  • Post-harvest handling and quality
  • Marketing, economics and policies
  • Status of hazelnuts in different countries

Abstracts will be published in an abstract book. Full-text papers will be published in Acta Horticulturae.

For more information, please visit the congress website, available at https://www.ishs.org/symposium/402

See you in Corvallis (Oregon, USA) in 2022! – Feel free to spread the news and invite friends and colleagues to submit.

Managing the orchard floor for optimal soil health

Summary of a presentation given by Charles Merfield, Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU), Lincoln University as part of the winter 2019 AGM/field day weekend

Originally published in the HGA newsletter, August 2019

Merf delivered a fascinating presentation on the key aspects of a healthy soil and how common orchard management practices can destroy soil health.


Merf’s key point was that it’s possible to achieve a healthy orchard and clear floor for harvesting while also maintaining biodiversity in the orchard floor, rather than using herbicides that kill soil microorganisms.

Continue reading Managing the orchard floor for optimal soil health