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Horticulture: When a road trip bears fruit.

Central Otago Horticulture - Engagement with industry to find ways to build capability

Lincoln University and the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (Rural Leaders), hit the road last week, travelling throughout South and Mid Canterbury and Central Otago.

Professor Hamish Gow of Lincoln University and Chris Parsons, Rural leaders’ CEO, have successfully established stronger links with the horticulture sector and in particular, growers from the pip and stone fruit industries.  

The series of visits were expertly organised, attended, and hosted by Chelsea Donnelly, GoHort Career Progression Manager for Central Otago. The road trip was designed to gain a better understanding of the opportunities for collaboration between Lincoln University, Rural Leaders, and the horticulture sector. 

Also joining the group was Dr. Clive Kaiser, Associate Professor at Lincoln University. Clive is a legend of the cherry fruit industry, and it seemed this status was clear when growers produced Clive’s co-authored book, Sweet Cherries, also known as ‘The International Bible of Cherry Fruit Production.’ “The book would appear from bookshelves, top drawers, and coffee tables, with Clive humbly signing more than a few on request,” said Hamish Gow. 

Professor Gow went on to say,

“This was a real bonus on the trip. To have Clive Kaiser and Chris Parsons there connecting with the sector in such an authentic way, created an atmosphere where the prospect of further collaboration just seemed inevitable.”

The visits included numerous growers, orchards and packhouses, with each discussing the technical production challenges, competency requirements, and opportunities for Rural Leaders and Lincoln University to collaborate in the co-design and development of capability building programmes. 

“Everyone we met was as excited as we were to see both Lincoln University and Rural Leaders engaging with industry. It was a highly productive research trip likely to have exponential benefits for all involved,” enthused Professor Gow. 

Growers and grower groups also expressed interest in exploring the idea of ‘field-labs’ on their farms, as way to further increase productivity and capability, “That’s something we’re extremely excited about exploring”, said Hamish Gow, “If anyone would like to talk more on that idea, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.” 

Professor Gow can be contacted at Hamish.Gow@lincoln.ac.nz 

December 2021: Southland Alumni Connect

The Invercargill Workingmen’s Club saw plenty of Rural Leaders action last week, as the venue for two Thriving Southland Workshops and a get together for Southland’s Nuffield and Kellogg alumni. 

The event was conveniently held next door to the workshops, allowing some to attend both. The get together was hosted by Rural Leaders’ CEO Chris Parsons and Operations and Events Manager Annie Chant and was attended by nearly twenty alumni who listened to Guest Speakers, Steve Wilkins, and Catherine Dickson share their programme stories. 

Stephen (Steve) Wilkins was a 2013 Nuffield Scholarship recipient, who researched the synergies between arable and dairy farming with a focus on effluent and nutrients. Steve spoke about his Nuffield journey, including how he received a call driving home from the Scholarship interview, and was told ‘you’re in’.  

Catherine Dickson completed her Kellogg in 2020. Her research report was National Treasure: Native biodiversity on-farm. Catherine spoke about how important her connection with her cohort is to her.  

We’d like to thank the speakers for their time and thank you to the alumni that managed to make the event.   

Doing better by our people.

There are figures on our primary sector’s labour transience that make for alarming reading. They’re remarkably high. In case you missed them, only 29% of those entering the primary sector remain after three years.  

While factors behind the statistics are complicated, one of the simpler, often cited reasons for leaving the sector is poor workplace culture. That falls strongly into the preventable turnover basket. And preventable turnover equates to 78% of total dairy transience, meaning four out of five people who have left the sector, might’ve stayed, had we done better by them.  

Bad news, old news, good news.

It’s not just farm workplaces buckling culturally under today’s stresses either, it’s large agri-businesses too, with allegations of poor management, and unaddressed toxic cultures more common than they should be. 

In both small farms and in larger business, failure to fix a problem culture can lead to performance issues and the destruction of the relationships with the people and teams helping those operations succeed. That’s the bad news. It’s also old news and too big to wrestle with here. So, we’ll offer a couple of pieces of good news about a few people trying to make a difference instead. 

Individual farms are now leading change, enthusiastically embracing management thinking from other industries. Farm owners, exposed to high performance ideas and practises bring their learning back home, to the farm. Couple this with a wider acceptance of wellbeing philosophies (previously known as ‘that touchy-feely-stuff’) and you have individual farming operations reporting much needed decreases in staff turnover. 

Rebecca and Brent Miller: Kellogg Scholars making changes. 

At the heart of what Rebecca and Brent Miller do lies a simple idea, if you work on yourself before you work on your team, good things will follow.  

Rebecca has just won ‘Emerging Leader’ at the 2021 Westpac Champion Business Awards. It’s an award that recognises performance across all industries, not just the primary. The award blurb states, ‘recognising a leader who is ambitious in outlook and vision, one who embraces innovation, shows resilience, and who inspires and invests in others.’ All good things, so it’s worth taking a closer look for ideas worth sharing. 

“What we stand for, our values, our negotiables, and non-negotiables, are all important for us, our team, and our farm. Everything comes down to knowing our strengths, weaknesses, and how we’re likely to contribute within a collaborative framework.” 

The school of hard knocks. 

Fifteen years ago, sharemilkers Rebecca, Brent, and their young children, were at a crossroads. It’s a familiar dairying family story, 2:30am to 7:30pm, 28 days on, two days off, moving between farming positions constantly and far too many tricky experiences with farm owners – their employers. They were on the brink of breakdown. All bets were on leaving farming forever.  

“We thought something had to give. But then you realise all your skills are in dairying. It was all we knew. So, we decided to stay and really reflect on what it was we needed from our next employer.”  

“We researched farm owners who supported, coached, and mentored their staff. We knew that if we were to stay in dairying and grow, we had to find the right environment for that to happen. Sadly, at the time, they weren’t easy to find – but eventually we did.” 

“We’d put business first at all costs in the past and that approach wasn’t working for us. We now knew it had to be family first.”  

Building the trust.

The Millers found an employer who opened their books, allowing them to benchmark against over a dozen farms in the owner’s network. The power of knowing ‘the numbers’ meant better decisions could be made, and efficiencies found by gently applying the right pressure at the right time. This sharing quickly built trust between themselves and the owners.  

“Passing that on and taking care of our team, seeing them grow and succeed, became a priority for us too. We have learned that as leaders of a team, the environment we provide on the farm, the behaviour, the way we share, interact, the words we use, the decisions made, and by who, are just a few of the factors in a high trust, high-performing and connected team.”  

The Millers strongly believe in the idea of sharing what they can to help others improve their on-farm methods and culture too.  

“MilkIQ is a platform for achieving that. It’s fuelled by a passion for people and driven by a desire to help them succeed.”  

With MilkIQ the Millers have just gone out and said ‘hey, this is who we are.’ “It’s a wellbeing tool, hopefully demonstrating trust in practise.” 

Hamish Murray Bluff Station Nuffield

Hamish Murray: A Nuffielder making changes. 

In a Farmstrong article from earlier this year, Nuffield Scholar and high-country sheep and beef farmer, Hamish Murray, also acknowledged the importance of his own journey. He spent a year on his Nuffield scholarship studying businesses with high-performing team cultures, including time in Silicon Valley, and in Christchurch with the Crusaders Rugby Team. He observed their continued focus on ‘soft skills,’ and shared values. 

“Soft skills are things like the way you communicate, make decisions, reflect and feedback. If you understand each other [other’s styles], you can combine to make good decisions.” 

“We’ve also done an exercise with our team to agree on what values will drive the decisions in our business. It’s empowering everyone to move forward, and it allows me to stand back and let the others lead.” 

The results speak for themselves.

Hamish is confident this approach is paying off. One good indicator has been a reduced staff turnover. Hamish acknowledges how important it is to create an environment that allows others to flourish and one that attracts and keeps great people. A big part of that he says, is letting your ego go, getting out of people’s way and asking the questions that help others do an excellent job. To do that he says, you have to work on yourself first. 

“Sometimes it’s not until you get to breaking point that your own learning and reflection kicks in. The journey for me started at a real low, but now I look back and think I’m incredibly lucky to have had that experience.”  

Hamish is referring to the stresses created by the Marlborough and Canterbury drought of 2014/15.  

“Trying to keep everyone going when you had no control over anything was so draining … we ended up with stock on fourteen different properties. The support I’ve had from my family and my team, the groundwork we’ve done together has really given me the confidence to keep learning and growing our business.” 

It starts in your own back paddock. 

Rebecca, Brent, and Hamish have shown that one small, first step toward keeping people in primary sector, in a ‘start in your own backyard kind of way’ has to be toward yourself, then to your own ‘FarmilyTM,’ your rural community, and beyond to industry. Rebecca adds, “What we can control first is our own behaviour. When our behaviours are good, we allow others to be the same and we start creating that change.” 

Rebecca Miller did the Kellogg Rural leadership Programme in 2018. Her study topic was: Is there a need for an information platform to collaborate primary sector events? 

Brent Miller, Rebecca’s husband, did the Kellogg Programme in 2020. His study topic was: What is the true cost of transience to the New Zealand dairy industry? 

Hamish Murray is a 2019 Nuffield Scholar. Hamish’s research was Future farm workplaces. It investigated the work environment needed to attract and retain people in the primary sector.

 

Rural Leaders and Thriving Southland collaborate.

Workshops in Southland, collaboration between NZ RUral Leaders, Thriving Soutland and Lincoln University

Thriving Southland, in collaboration with the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust and Lincoln University, recently ran two successful workshops, held over four days. The workshops sought to strengthen rural leadership capability in the region and inspire catchment leaders and their teams to work on problems and deliver outcomes for a thriving Southland.

Think to Thrive: Strategy

The first Strategy Workshop, ‘Think to Thrive,’ was held in Winton on the 1st and 2nd of December. It was designed to form a pathway between today’s Southland and where it might be tomorrow. 

Trust to Thrive: Leadership

The second workshop ‘Trust to Thrive’ was held in Invercargill. With a focus on leadership, it was designed to build on the outcomes of workshop one. It drew on the facilitators’ skills in delivering world-leading military intent-based team building frameworks, and helping leaders learn to empower their teams to work and win together.

The facilitators

The workshops were co-facilitated by Chris Parsons, MNZM, DSD, Rural Leaders CEO, Professor Hamish Gow, Lincoln University, Phil Morrison ONZM, Freelance Consultant and Kellogg Programme Facilitator, and Rob Hoult DSD, a Leadership Development Specialist. 

The participants

Each workshop was attended by about twenty farmers, catchment co-ordinators, stakeholders, and local and regional government leaders. Introduced to a range of tools, models, and frameworks, attendees then took a deep dive into a session of insights work. 

The groups generated two hundred key insights, from which they produced three hundred ideas. These ideas were crafted into four game plans the attending leaders could share with their catchments, the Thriving Southland Team and Board. 

When asked how the workshops were for attendees, three strong feedback themes emerged: empowering, big picture, and thought provoking. Many also felt that they had a new platform for influencing change. 

Lynsey Stratford, 2021 Nuffield Scholar and attendee, posted on LinkedIn:

“This was a great opportunity to learn some new skills and identify opportunities for the region alongside other food and fibre producers and stakeholders.” 

Another attendee stated, “We left armed with the models, tools, and insights we need to build capability with our teams.”  

If you’d like to get hold of the workshop summaries, please email either Hamish Gow or Chris Parsons, Hamish.Gow@lincoln.ac.nz or Chrisparsons@ruralleaders.co.nz 

Domestic Marketing of the Dairy Industry.

Tracey Perkins Kellogg Report
Kellogg course 44

The Domestic Marketing of the Dairy Industry: Have We Missed A Spot? A Deeper Look Into Our Social Licence.

Executive Summary

The dairy industry is a leading contributor to the New Zealand economy, making up over 5% of GDP in seven regions and employing up to 50,000 people nationwide (Ballingall & Pambudi, 2020). In spite of this, we see increasing local interest in vegetarianism and veganism (Colmar Brunton_Better Futures Presentation, 2020) and we see increasing resistance not only to dairy farming practises themselves but also to the accompanying practises required to maintain this industry such as pest and disease control.

This causes concern for several reasons, including given that the public have access to international platforms where our international market engages (statistia.com, 2021) and if New Zealanders do not believe in our produce, then how can we effectively market to the world.

This research was conducted with the purpose of understanding more deeply the current market in which we are operating and where our social licence currently sits. The major focus of our industry appears to be a focus on telling our story, which relies entirely on the truth of that story being palatable to the New Zealand public and the assumption that rural New Zealand shares the same worldview as urban New Zealand.

Given this dilemma, I researched the meaning behind a citizen’s statement of “I support the dairy industry” and why the meaning behind that simple statement could hold some answers for our way forward as an industry. Key insights included that:

  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I am connected to the industry at all myself or through family.
  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I visit rural New Zealand.
  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I am aware of all of the practises carried out on farm.
  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I am a consumer of dairy products.
  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I agree with all of the practises carried out on farm, and some I may actively oppose.
  • Supporting the dairy industry does not mean that I like dairy farmers as people.

My research also revealed that the New Zealand citizen has two distinct and separate roles in dairy farming, and both should be addressed – that of a consumer and that of a stakeholder.

Viewed in that light, competitors to the New Zealand Dairy Industry include social marketing aimed at decreasing the consumption of animal products and perceived animal cruelty, as well as the likes of specific product such as rice milk, sold from the Health Food chiller despite research showing lower nutrient content than cow’s milk.

Overall, the New Zealand dairy industry sustains the life of hundreds of thousands of babies each year through infant formula (9% of overall dairy export, $1.8B) (StatsNZ, Sense Partners, 2020), brings joy at fine dining experiences around the globe, and produce over 1500 dairy products and product formulations (Ballingall & Pambudi, 2020). We invest water and soil and return a vital food source. And yet, milk consumption per capita in our own country has decreased and alternative products are on the rise, seemingly without strong opposition from the dairy industry.

The recommendation is for industry to discuss and determine appropriate engagement methods between the public and the dairy farmer, with a view to understanding shared and opposing values as a baseline for moving the industry forward. Along with this, of key importance is research to understand the relationship between the New Zealand citizen as a consumer and as a stakeholder in the land and the extent to which one influences the other. From there research is required to determine perceived barriers to change from dairy farmers in areas where values between the public and the farmer align.

We have three primary concerns facing us as an industry; engagement to reduce the urban-rural values divide, commercial marketing to increase perception of value of our product and social marketing to ensure the sustainability of our social licence. The way forward could certainly utilize all three methods.

Future Proofing the Red Meat Processing Industry: Sustainability at the end of the Chain.

Bridget Newson McNully Kellogg Report
Kellogg 44

Nov/2021

Executive Summary

In an evolving world, with consumers aging out of the market and new tastes and values emerging with generational change, comes the microscope over New Zealand export markets. Stemming from strong primary sectors, questions are being asked now not just of animal welfare, food safety, price and provenance but also sustainability practices. As the topic of climate emergency and consumer awareness comes to the fore, consumers now want to know not just where their food comes from, but how did it get there.

The aim of this project is to uncover positive contributions being made by meat processors operating in New Zealand’s grass-fed red meat sector, and highlight any pressures that may arise in future to really shake up the paddock to plate story-telling, to include processor to plate messaging. Often, the important processing component of that story is not told well, if at all.

In this body of work I will aim to identify how meat processors in New Zealand are harnessing their sustainability potential and responsibility, why it is important and how their social licence to operate is affected during this process. To truly understand this, I have conducted interviews with red meat industry leaders to hear their experiences and learn about what action they are taking. I have also looked at literature relating to social licence to operate, sustainability and how our actions alter our supply chain within New Zealand’s export significant, red meat sector.

The method used to complete this project was qualitative research. Structured interviews designed to get the in terviewee thinking not just about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of their changing practices but more so, why? Why does it matter and how can it be beneficial in each facet of the business.

During my interview research, the main message was resounding. Interviewees viewed their export product as:

  • Clean and green
  • Pasture fed
  • Antibiotic free
  • Hormone free

That is how New Zealand agriculture is viewed as a global product and has been for the past 50 years! All of the above reflect the fantastic industry many generations have enjoyed and worked hard to create and maintain, ever since the first shipment of frozen lamb left Port Chalmers on the 15th February 1882. But how are New Zealand’s meat processors viewed at the end of that chain, and how to we get the words climate friendly, sustainable, sophisticated and forward thinking onto that list. There is a level of social, economic and environmental responsibility required of New Zealand red meat processors which will be covered in more detail throughout this report.

Final recommendations include:

  • Coopetition models to combat labour shortages and enhance social wellbeing.
  • Equity partnerships around topics that matter such as the image depleting bobby calf industry.
  • Further research and investment into natural gas capture and reuse as fuel, water conservation and fertiliser alternatives from meat processor by products.

Can A Northland Dairy Farm Be High Input and Remain Sustainable?

Stephen Bell Kellogg Report
Kellogg 44
Nov 2021

Executive Summary

Dairy Farming in New Zealand comes in many different forms. Every farm business has to decide what level of input is best for them to be profitable and sustainable. Historically, the primary constraint on moving to a high input system has been the financial and management ability of the farm and business operators. While this is still a significant factor, the environmental impacts of dairy farming have come under increased scrutiny.


New policies such as the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPs-FM) are designed to improve New Zealand’s freshwater quality and include a series of minimum standards for specific attributes. Regional councils must have updated freshwater plans in place by December 2024 that reflect the desired state of the region’s freshwater, with attributes being at or above the stated National Policies bottom line standards. Farms will be required to have certified Freshwater Farm Plans in place that align with the regional councils freshwater targets (Ministry For The Environment, 2020).

What do these policies mean for Northland dairy farming? And does it alter the viability of adjusting to a higher input farm system?

Analysis of financial data (2010 to 2020) in the Dairy NZ Economic Survey shows, on average, higher input systems were more profitable than medium and lower input systems with a higher operating profit/ha and higher return on dairy assets. It should be noted that while higher input systems are more profitable on average, there is a wide range of results within each system. Case studies in this report modelling high input systems highlighted this variance with a range of profitability outcomes.

Analysis of freshwater river testing in Northland comparing sample results to various standards, including bottom-line standards set out in the NPS-FW, showed that sediment in Northlands rivers is the biggest concern, along with elevated phosphorus levels resulting from sediment loss. In the majority of testing sites, nitrate and ammonia levels met the policy bottom-line standards (Stats NZ, 2020).

The implementation of Freshwater Farm Plans will result in farms putting practices in place to limit their effects on the freshwater in their catchment. If sediment and phosphorus contamination is of concern, the farm business may be required to adjust management practices, including investment in infrastructure such as standoff areas and feedpads to reduce sediment loss.

This report concluded that a Northland dairy farmer could adopt a high input system under certain circumstances. The profitability of a Northland dairy farm business is heavily influenced by the level of investment required to meet environmental standards. Increasing the system’s intensity requires a higher level of investment to meet the increasing demands of environmental regulations, potentially reducing profitability. The case studies in this report reflected this, with farms requiring a higher level of investment being at higher risk of being financially unsustainable.

Should a Northland dairy farm business choose to move to a high input system, it is recommended that they:

  • Understand the level of investment required to move to the new system and remain environmentally compliant.
  • Be aware of any further environmental impact the change will have, particularly regarding nutrient and sediment loss.
  • Understand the freshwater concerns in the catchment the farm influences and what limitations may be placed on their business.
  • Understand their current and proposed greenhouse gas emissions and factor in a potential cost to the business once the policy comes into place.

Looking into the Future Sustainability of the New Zealand Avocado Industry.

Kellogg 44
Nov 2021

Executive Summary

The aim of this report is to investigate what the future sustainability of the New Zealand avocado industry looks like. The purpose is to provide an indication to my own business on how viable my business will be in the coming years in terms of industry growth rate and growers taking on more work themselves and less contracting out.

Will this be a recurring theme or are there potentially multiple factors at play?

This will be done by looking into the current scale of avocado plantings in New Zealand, how it has changed over time and what are the future plans of the Avocado industry. It will also cover off the challenges under the Covid-19 environment and how export has been affected due to the pandemic.

The ultimate picture of what the industry’s future looks like will be determined by the demand for New Zealand avocados and if there is still a viable overseas market. What the current market trends are and what direction they are going in and will New Zealand hold up against overseas competitors.

We will delve into the overseas markets and create an understanding of how New Zealand avocado supply holds up against them. If we can understand what the present situation is and the reasons that have shaped the avocado industry into what it is today, we can understand the direction, structure and psyche of the sector.

Once this investigation has been undertaken, our findings can be used to discuss our perceived future of the avocado sector.

The main findings include:

  • A 3-fold increase in the current production of fruit for upcoming years due to the rapid rate of new plantings.
  • The costs associated with getting fruit to market are rising
  • In New Zealand we struggle to compete on quality, logistics, shipping cost, reliability, and industry resources required to promote and expand our markets and market-share.

My recommendations as an outcome of this report are:

We should invest more time into seeking alternative markets, other than our closest neighbour, to export our premium fruit too.
The rapid rate of plantings will cause the fruit return to plummet unless we implement a restricted planting rate to ensure the market stays competitive and keeps new and old growers with a plausible return.

Industry bodies need to work together as one cohesive group to support growers, positively promote the industry and provide solutions to the common challenges.

Due to our little natural advantage of growing avocados in NZ, our focus to generate new consumer markets should move to organic production, carbon zero and further play on the clean, green, safe food aspects.

Land Use Change Diversification in Northland.

Rachel Weal Kellogg Report
Kellogg 44
Nov 2021

Executive Summary

Whenua (land) is valuable. It is a place for us to live, to make a living and to grow food and materials we need for ourselves and export. Across New Zealand, huge variations in landforms, soil, and climate influence how land across the country can best be utilised and managed (Ministry for the Environment, 2021).

The state of our land today is a legacy of the ways previous generations used it. Some former land uses limit how we can use it today. In the same way, our choices about land today can be irreversible and will affect future generations and the potential production and profitability of our industry.

The Northland Region of New Zealand is a vital province for agriculture, horticulture, and forestry and, with its subtropical climate and mixed topography, offers a key competitive advantage.

A range of factors can drive land-use change, all of which tend to interact and influence each other and can be generally categorised into the following areas:

  • Biophysical Factors
  • Economic Factors
  • Societal Factors
  • Regulatory Factors
  • Environmental Factors

These five factors are all interrelated. They are all equal in importance and in most cases, an aggregation of drivers will need consideration. An individual’s risk appetite, as well as any future succession plans, will also influence these decisions.

A person or entity’s drivers for change will be unique and must be treated as such. They could include:

  • Looking to make a change to either reduce risk or maximise financial return (economically driven)
  • Seeking an enterprise or activity that is more aligned to them personally (interest- driven)
  • To improve the environmental impact (environmentally/regulatory driven)

Good land-use decisions depend on being well informed and understanding the trade-offs between profitability, physical land characteristics and environmental sustainability. To achieve all aspects, a mosaic approach to land uses may be required across the rural landscape in Northland. Many land uses can complement each other, helping to:

  • Spread financial risk by diversifying investment
  • Reducing environmental impact
  • Improve the overall sustainability of the farm
  • Creating succession options

There are three main aspects of land-use change and diversification identified in the Northland Region that are prominent today. I believe these factors will also be of most significant consideration moving forward into the future. The three main aspects are environmental considerations (primarily availability of water and the use of forestry to reduce our impact on climate change and emissions), economic considerations (profitability and access to capital), and regulatory considerations (subdivision of rural land). Four examples have been given based on these factors.

From the research completed in this report and my professional experience, I make the following recommendations:

  • I suggest further analysis and information on current land use is required to ascertain what enterprises are covering what land areas in Northland. Similarly, information on soil types is difficult to obtain and is generally high level. Statistics are primarily restricted and usually well out of date. Information at a district or regional level could assist in future land-use decision making.
  • I suggest further investigation and research into different land uses, specifically for the Northland region, including new crops or subtropical varieties. We need to share our knowledge and experiences so others can make informed decisions regarding land use diversification.
  • I propose the availability of specialist consultants who can be accessed easily by farmers to assist landowners in uncovering potential land-use change options and what would best suit them as people, their land, and the viability. Having previous case study examples would assist with this.
  • I advocate that water storage investment for the Northland region remains a priority, and I recommend the proposed water storage sites continue to go ahead, as well as an investigation into other potential future sites.
  • I suggest local councils continue to plan urban development and weigh up the requirement of residential housing versus products produced from highly productive agricultural land.

Heat Pump Pollen Drying.

Nicholas Woolsey Kellogg Report
Kellogg 44
Nov 2021

Executive Summary

The project described in this report formed part of the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. It investigated the use of a heat pump in kiwifruit pollen drying in order to reduce energy use.

The author worked with a pollen producer to establish limitations in the existing conventional system, before researching and developing a concept that utilised heat pump technology.

Initial findings suggested such a system presents significant financial and environmental advantages that may be exploited by individual producers and industry bodies alike.

The recommendations were to:

1. Build a prototype pollen dryer using a Temperzone packaged water-cooled unit coupled with a reheat coil as per concept design.

2. Use the above prototype phase to gather more data, particularly around water volume requirements and heat transfer.

3. Investigate other potential sources of supplementary heat to provide further efficiencies.