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Vermicast use in the NZ kiwifruit industry
20 July 2016
Vermicast use in the NZ kiwifruit industry

While not as large as the dairy industry or as ingrained in our cultural identity as sheep farming, there's no denying the value brought to the New Zealand economy by kiwifruit. In certain parts of the country - the Bay of Plenty in particular - orchards full of the fruit named for our national symbol drape the countryside.

According to the NZ Horticulture Export Authority, in 2014 the industry brought in $930 million from exports alone, with over 383,000 tonnes of kiwifruit shipped to all corners of the globe. That's a significant portion of our total export revenues, and for residents of the Bay of Plenty the industry and supporting businesses represent many thousands of jobs.

Keeping the kiwifruit industry vibrant and profitable is a huge concern in the face of competition from other markets, but using fully organic vermicast fertiliser can lead to a better product, and stronger returns.

Kiwifruit growers can benefit from using organic vermicast fertiliser.

Value of organic farming

There's little doubt that consumer demand for organic products has risen in recent years, and acquiring organic certification has become a priority for many producers in the country. While there's certainly an environmental and ethical perspective involved when choosing to go organic, the financial benefits involved shouldn't be underestimated. 

Global research conducted by Washington State University in the U.S. looked into the economics involved, and found that organic produce earned farmers between 29 and 32 per cent more than non-organic. While crop yields were also found to be lower, that shortfall was more than covered by the extra value of the products. 

Consumer demand for organic products has risen in recent years.

"Organic agriculture has room to grow; there's room for premiums to go down over time," says researcher John Reganold. "But what we've found is that the premiums have held pretty steady over the 40 years represented in the study."

Transitioning to organic kiwifruit growing

For kiwifruit growers in NZ, making the move towards an organic operation may involve a number of elements, but a great place to start is by fertilising orchards with naturally produced vermicast. MyNOKE has worked with a number of kiwifruit growers in our country, and by introducing earthworms and distributing organic vermicast on pastures we have quickly seen some quality results in terms of plant health. 

Converting an entire operation to organic may be a huge undertaking, but MyNOKE can help kiwifruit growers tap into the booming market incrementally. Speak to us about your vermicast options today.