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AvoGreen® Changes

The protocol now requires that monitoring for Leafroller is done on EITHER fruit OR shoots, not a mixture of each. If not enough fruit are available/in reach for monitoring, use 10 shoots sites/tree to check for Leafroller.

The threshold for Leafroller on shoots has been reduced to 4%.

The Area of a block requiring a minimum of 10 trees to be monitored has been lifted to 4hafrom 3.5ha. This has affected some growers who had just over 3.5ha and were required to monitor 30 trees or divide the area into 2 blocks.

These changes can be seen in the revised AvoGreen®Manual on the nzavocado.co.nz website.  (link to NZ Avocado AvoGreen page -http://industry.nzavocado.co.nz/industry/avogreen.csn )

Queensland Fruit Fly– Detection of one male in Mt Roskill (Auckland) 8 May 2012

Ministry for Primary Industries Report:


1. On 8 May, 2012, a single male Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly), Bactrocera tryoni, was collected from a fruit fly trap in the Mount Roskill area of Auckland city. 

2. The trap was one of 4,471 traps monitored routinely in the Auckland region and is one of the 7,000-plus traps monitored nationally on behalf of MPI (formally MAF) to validate New Zealand’s claim of country freedom from harmful species of fruit flies.  All traps are monitored regularly

3. The Mt Roskill trap is in a residential area and well away from commercial production areas of known host crops, many of which (e.g. stone fruit) have completed harvest.

4. MPI takes the detection of a fruit fly in one of its traps very seriously and implements a follow-up response (para 6).  At this stage this is a single detection and the capture of a single male fruit fly in a trap does NOT/NOT constitute an incursion[1] or outbreak[2]. MPI considers that there is no technical justification for any trading partner to impose any additional phytosanitary restrictions or measures.  We expect most countries would not take further action until advice of the detection of further flies.

5. As a result of this single capture the response involves:

  • Defining an A-zone of 200m and a B-zone of 1.5 km surrounding the detection.
  • Additional traps to be placed in both the zones to better delimit the scale of the event.
  • In the A-zone, traps will be placed in fruiting host trees (e.g. currently citrus) with at least one trap on each property with host trees.
  • In the B-zone, traps will be placed in host trees at a density of 20-30 traps per km2 (where possible).  (Comment:  This is sufficient density as the traps contain an effective lure for male Q-flies sufficient to attract them over the distances between traps.)
  • Fruit monitoring, which involves the collection of ripe fruit of known Q-fly hosts from all A-zone properties, and the examination of such for stings or larvae.
  • Movement controls of known host fruit out of the two (A and B) zones.  Note: Movement controls include the restricting the movement of host fruit from individual properties and export controls on host fruit grown within, or moving through the A and B zones.

Should your require direct contact with MPI or have queries of a technical nature, the key contacts are: Tim.Knox@MPI.govt.nz or Stephen.Butcher@MPI.govt.nz

We will keep you informed of any further significant developments.

[1] incursion  An isolated population of a pest recently detected in an area, not known to be established, but expected to survive for the immediate future [FAO IPPC ISPM #5]

[2] outbreak   A recently detected pest population, including an incursion, or a sudden significant increase of an established pest population in an area [FAO IPPC ISPM #5]



Avogreen review

Over the past few weeks CropCheck Ltd Directors have been involved with talks with other Operators, AIC and the Avogreen Working group (comprising grower, Pack House, AGA, merchant, orchard contractor and Avogreen Operator representatives).

Recommendations from the Working Group, have gone to an AIC Board meeting, and we await further decisions on recommended changes. The changes will be designed to make the Avogreen system easier to comprehend, fairer to all participants, and more in line with the key strategies Avogreen was designed for:

  1. To increase industry export pack out rates
  2. To facilitate “all-market” status
  3. To provide a point of differentiation in the market by demonstrating sustainable production
  4. To reduce quarantine issues

Some of these objectives will need to be measured. For instance, growers with good record-keeping of pack-outs before and after using Avogreen will be sought. If you are such a grower, CropCheck Ltd would love to hear from you.

We will keep you posted about any changes which go ahead.

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Light Year Crop

In seasons with little or no fruit, there seems less incentive to monitor and spray. Fruit tend not to hang in large bunches in such a year, so insect pests have fewer places to hide.

However, returns per fruit can be higher, particularly on the local market, when the majority of growers have the same light crop.

Avogreen compliance in a light-cropping year is maintained provided every spray applied is justified by a monitoring result or other recognised justification. Once an Avogreen plan is in place, you still have the choice of whether or not to export, until picking time.

A major benefit of regular monitoring over periods of maximum risk, is that pest-specific sprays can be optimally timed according to the life stage of the pest, so that damage to the fruit can be prevented early. Low thresholds for Leafroller and Thrip allow a spray as soon as a pest is found.

The periods of maximum risk are:

Leafroller –now to the end of April

Greenhouse Thrip – mid January to end of April

Six-spotted Mite – mid August to December

Scale – September to October, and April to May when crawlers are most likely to be present.

Compared with calendar spraying, or preventative spraying, sprays applied according to a structured Avogreen monitoring can reduce the number and toxicity of sprays used. “The tactic of only monitoring when you intend to spray is a very high risk approach that is likely to fail to deliver any benefit.” (Avogreen Manual)

Consider also the large pest pressures seen over the past season. If you are contemplating not spraying at all due to lack of crop, be mindful of a build-up of pests, particularly Leafroller and Scale, which could impact on the following season.

CropCheck Ltd is aware of many orchards where high winds, frost, hail, high crop load stress, phytophthora and/or Six-spotted mite have decimated the prospects of a return crop this season. Our thoughts are with you, and if you have dealt to the causes of tree stress, we would encourage you to begin monitoring again before the end of August 2012 to ensure Six-spotted mite and Leafroller can be dealt with early before flowering.

For updates on pest numbers throughout the season click on Pest Alerts on our website:www.cropcheck.co.nz

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Reflections of the first season of Mandatory Monitoring - from an Avogreen Operator’s view point

Since the AIC Road Show introductions of mandatory Avogreen monitoring in April 2010, growers have been gradually introduced to the detail, either by training as an Owner Operator, or by acquiring information from AIC articles, discussion groups, Avogreen Operators etc.

With GAP requirements also thrown into the mix for this season’s large export crop, growers have often felt bombarded by regulations and details they would rather ignore. Feelings have run high about all these impositions, and consequently we are still seeing ‘maverick’ growers flaunting the system with false monitoring reports, and spraying regardless of the actual levels of pests.

By the same token, so much information has been disseminated to growers that they haven’t necessarily absorbed it all, with the result that some growers have mistakenly believed they are entitled to spray without having an Accredited Monitor inspect their orchard. Increasing regulation requires better reporting of non-regulation activity and defined consequences.

However, the majority of orchardists CropCheck Ltd staff have associated with, have been very understanding of the need for market differentiation and better consumer assurance of food quality which Avogreen and GAP strive toward. We are still hearing from growers registering late for export, who haven’t sprayed, but who realise the money won’t be in Local sales this season. They have needed to be contracted to an Accredited Avogreen Operator to allow their fruit to be exported.

Along with awareness of all the regulations, growers have generally increased their knowledge of the 4 major pests of avocados: Leaf roller, Green House Thrips, Six-Spotted Mite and Scale. This knowledge can only better arm growers in the defence of their fruit quality! Summer 2010-2011 was one of the worst I have seen in over 10 years in terms of pest pressure. Well done AIC for your timing of Mandatory Avogreen Monitoring. The resulting export crop will have benefited greatly.

CropCheck Ltd boasts two Registered Avogreen Monitoring Trainers with over 10 years monitoring experience each.  As a fresh company, we saw the need to spread awareness of our business, and free training of over 50 Owner-operator growers became one of our advertising costs. Less than 10 of these growers have used our services since, but the exposure to growers has helped bring our name into regular use. Teaching Avogreen protocol also ensures we know the present system back-to-front and gives us the authority to contribute knowledgeably to the revision of Avogreen systems in the future.

Six-spotted mite continued to increase from previous season’s levels in the Bay of Plenty. Leading into flowering last Spring (2010) some growers missed opportunities to spray and suffered major leaf loss from Six-spotted mite. Again this spring, we have seen the Six-spotted mite numbers increase very rapidly and catch many growers unawares, arriving earlier than normal and in much greater numbers than previously seen. This is definitely a warning for next year, monitoring for Six-spotted mite needs to start much earlier than previously accepted, especially if we have a warm winter.

Leaf roller continued later in Summer 2010-11, as did Green House Thrip, due to the extended warm temperatures. Many growers became understandably frustrated with the response time of their spray contractor when trying to manage a back-to-back thrip spray within 2 weeks. So many growers required spraying in distant areas, that spray contractors became overwhelmed; those who did manage good timing of thrip sprays, gained control earlier. Unfortunately, the biennial nature of avocado production isn’t helping contractors, such as sprayers, pickers, and crop monitors, with subsequent fluctuating staff from year to year.

Avogreen protocol this year included recommended best practice of a Pre-Harvest Monitor for Leafroller larvae and live egg rafts. The United States (and now Australia) requires fruit to be guaranteed free of Leaf roller, which was why this became best practice. With the extra requirement from Australia, all orchards are now needing to do a preharvest monitor before picking, then on advice from their packhouse, either spray or have their fruit dipped before packing if any Leafroller are found. CropCheck staff inspect for both Leafroller larvae and eggs, all other main pests, minor pests and beneficial insects, at every monitoring visit. In future, when fruit is sprayed for “all market access”, and the crop is being exported to US or Australia, the Pre-Harvest monitoring report will become very important.

Avogreen Auditing has occurred three times since mandatory monitoring began. CropCheck Ltd are proud to have successfully passed all audits more than adequately. Owner Operators were under a balloted audit so many were left without feed back this season. They would be advised to approach an Accredited Operator with any questions, as all Accredited Operators have now been audited.

The coming season leading into Spring 2011 will continue to be a challenging one for growers. With trees already under a high fruit load, flowering can tip the tree into high stress, leading to Phytophthora. Add Six-spotted Mite into the mix, and it could take more than two years for trees to recover, even if they are well cared-for. Feeding, watering trees during dry Spring conditions, frost protection if needed, and monitoring for Six-spotted Mite, will all assist your hard-working trees regain vigour.

CropCheck Ltd recommends fortnightly monitoring for Six-spotted Mite from the end of August until the middle of flowering. Leaf roller monitoring should begin monthly at the same time as six-spotted mite. If a post flowering Leafroller spray is contemplated (allowable under Avogreen without a monitoring), this may not be necessary if monitoring shows no Leafroller.

Green House Thrip pressure may begin as early as January, and requires frequent monitoring (weekly if numbers creep over threshold and no spray is applied) as numbers can explode in warm conditions, causing large areas of blemish in a single week. Since Thrip populations build from season to season, even during a light crop, we would still recommend keeping numbers down.

Scale has shown itself most in orchards where little spraying has been done in the past. Spring and autumn Scale crawlers are more easily targeted by sprays than the waxy, stationary adult. Remember you can spray once in a season for scale without a monitoring if your previous pack out report showed a problem with scale.

In an “off year”, what little fruit that manages to set is valuable, even on the Local Market. Light monitoring is still highly recommended by the industry.

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