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Agronomy Society Symposium Review
By Stefan Vogrincic
On September 1st, I presented at the 50th Agronomy Society Symposium, on behalf of Tomatoes NZ, in Christchurch to up to 172 registered attendees at Lincoln University. I attended the second day of the symposium.
Over the two days the programme covered:
- Nutrient management for arable systems
- Soil protection
- Regenerative agriculture
- Greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration
- Options for farm diversification
- Extracting value from commodity products
The first session on day two (greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration) was particularly challenging. Rightly or wrongly – modelling of the future challenges, we may or may not face, is confronting and created debate, especially in relation to climate change and cropping systems. I think it is great that as New Zealanders we are trying to find renewable options to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. We should continue to seek to secure our own energy security.
The issue I have is the level of responsibility and taxes we are placing on NZ Inc to combat climate change. For example, it is not our country’s emissions that is having any significant contribution to climate change – that does not mean we should not reduce our emissions – it simply means that in the future no matter what we do as a country we are at the mercy of other nations. Should we prepare and adapt for the worst-case scenario? If our average temperature is going to increase, rain volumes increase and potentially more and longer droughts in between – should we not ready our infrastructure? Is this an opportunity to consider more long-term water storage options?
Once the morning session was completed the second session was all about options for farm diversity. I was pleased to give a twenty-minute presentation on the issues and opportunities facing the NZ tomato industry as well as the potential for other types of protected cropping. I presented the key issues Tomatoes NZ are currently facing Cost of Energy, Cost of Production, Shortage of Labour, and our Biosecurity concerns. View power points from this site https://www.agronomysociety.org.nz/symposium-powerpoints
As part of the presentation, I discussed the vast range of old to new greenhouses our growers produce in. I discussed the role modern technology will play and used the FTEK RLAP project as the key example of how we are looking to improve efficiencies. I mentioned opportunities such as the ‘A Lighter Touch’ programme and potential new opportunities for energy, including green field or biofuels that may become more prevalent in the future. I emphasized the fact that even though New Zealand still has older greenhouses we do have modern structures.
The third and final session of the day covered extracting value from commodity prices. This was another excellent session, especially the discussion on wheat by Ivan Lawrie from the Foundation of Arable Research (FAR). (Check out the slides in the link above)
There was a great deal of valuable technical information at this conference. It covered a wide range of horticulture including arable farming. Well done to the hosts for an incredible event – I would certainly return to present if asked in the future.
Some of the attendees were representatives from:
Far, Plant & Food, Nutrient Solutions, Farmlands, Pure Oil NZ, Midlands, Global Oats, Hort NZ (Michelle Sands), Agrownomics, Lincoln University, Agrilink, Massey University, Victoria University, Market Gardeners (MB), Hill Laboratories, Balance, BASF, AGMARDT, Hills Laboratories
Article written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic
All Article’s checked and edited by Marie Vogrincic
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