The water footprint of New Zealand’s goods and services

By Brent Clothier, Science Group Leader, Systems Modelling at Plant & Food Research – Palmerston North

Chief Scientist of the UK, Professor Sir John Beddington, has suggested that by 2030 the world faces a ‘perfect storm of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources’. The imperative is to lighten our consumption of water, carbon and energy.  Water, carbon, food and energy are inextricably linked.  Water is the lynchpin.

The providers of New Zealand’s goods and services to the world who win in the international market place will be those who demonstrate sustainability through metrics such as product footprints.
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Mechanical thinning for Botrytis Control

By Tessa Nicholson,
Editor of Winepress

Three years ago research began into determining if mechanical thinning was a viable method of controlling yields. That research has broadened as scientists discover mechanical thinning may be a way of controlling botrytis.

The scourge of grape growers and winemakers, botrytis is a multi million dollar threat to the industry. An opportunistic disease which can hang around until the conditions are just right, it can decimate quality in just a few days.

Controlling it has been the subject of much research and product development. Now new research is indicating that mechanical thinning could help alleviate the risk. When the initial mechanical thinning trials began in Marlborough back in 2009, those involved were concerned that a side effect of beating the canopy to remove quantities of fruit, would in fact damage bunches in the canopy. That damage could lead directly to more incidence of disease in later weeks.

Instead what they found in those first trials was that the control, un-thinned block had the most disease, whereas the heavily machine thinned block had the least. The same results showed through in 2010, where there was a significantly lower disease level in the mechanically thinned.

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