Grower2Grower Invited to the BNZ tent
This year, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to work alongside the BNZ Fieldays team at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, from Wednesday the 12th of June until Friday the 14th of June. It was a quick and definite ‘Yes’ when I was asked by the BNZ. My main role is to promote the greenhouse industry to horticulture and agricultural farmers, highlighting the opportunities that protected cropping offers.
Anything can be grown in a greenhouse, of course it is not feasible, from a profitability perspective, to grow certain products in greenhouses currently. However, I predict (by using my crystal ball) and would not be surprised if we see many new crops grown in high tech greenhouse structures in the future. An example is cherry crops, traditionally grown outdoors, but are now grown in greenhouse structures that can be nearly fully opened and fully closed. It is called protected cropping for a reason and the further our markets expand, and food security and sustainability becomes more and more important, so will protecting high value crops. Greenhouses offer this protection and therefore great opportunity. Berries are an obvious choice for expansion into greenhouses, as is now the case in Belgium and Holland. Fresh berries have short shelf lives, to stay fresh, if imported from overseas, is near impossible unless air freighted (not to mention the carbon foot print). So, this is an obvious market that could look at expanding almost immediately. Taking that scenario one step further, high tech, heated, supplementary lighting of berry crops would give an option of winter harvest but with summer production. It would not mean exorbitant prices in the shops but a sustainable price as production would be constant and high. I would not be surprised to see kiwifruit, apples and grapes, to be looked at as a serious option for some type of protected cropping in the future. Bringing traditional outdoor crops into a greenhouse environment may even open up new regions for expansion. Perhaps the West Coast could grow kiwifruit if it was protected from the high rain fall?
Even, traditional vegetable crops grown in New Zealand are still expanding. There will be a constant need to rebuild, or retrofit older greenhouses and with a growing population who are eating healthier the need for fresh product grown in greenhouse will continue to expand. New export markets and opportunities will hopefully arise, the larger the populations in our main trading partners in Asia become. New Zealand offers a clean, green option as well as food security for those larger populations. We also have a very good climate and with new potential energy technology available business cases should be considered.
If you are at Fieldays come and have a chat, I will be in tent F 60 from 9 am – 4 pm each day. Special thanks to the BNZ for offering me the opportunity to promote our industry to the rural community. Follow the link and type in BNZ to find where I will be. https://d2zhd512qvvt22.cloudfront.net/
Fieldays 12th to 16th June 2019. Remember your gumboots.
I always look forward to the tractors! Can't take the boy out of me just yet.