27 Oct: A bad batch of fungicide has ruined apples in the Nelson region in New Zealand and some fruit will be destroyed instead of exported, a grower says.
An apple grower in Nelson, said it was the active ingredient mancozeb causing the problem, damaging numerous orchards in Nelson and several in Hawke's Bay.
He said in his orchard the fungicide has caused russet on apple skins, knocked fruit off trees too early, and damaged leaves, resulting in lower quality apples that he said would not meet export standards.
New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard said the industry was in the early stages of investigating the problem.
"We are aware that an issue has arisen, particularly in Nelson. It appears that a spray has been applied in the early stages of fruit development. It seems to have caused some damage to the developing fruit.
"We have recalled the product which is the first stage. We are just in the process now of evaluating the extent of the impact of the issue."
Mr Pollard said he did not know how many orchards were affected, but those that were would not necessarily be written off and hoped that some fruit could be spared.
"Hopefully, not all the fruit on the tree will be subject to that and we'll be able to save some."
New Zealand Apples and Pears said it was talking with the supplier of the product, and working out what process they have used.
Mr Pollard said it was too early to know if the chemical supplier would be held accountable for damaging crops.
"We are trying to understand what has happened and why, and once we do that we will be in a better position to see what happens from there."
| A FreshPlaza release | October 27, 2017 |||