Wednesday, 04 November 2020 09:25

Fruitful exercise

Written by  Staff Reporters
Rata School primary teacher Trish Hereaka (far right) says her class were very excited with the shoes and lunch provided by Zespri, Rata School primary teacher Trish Hereaka (far right) says her class were very excited with the shoes and lunch provided by Zespri,

There was an air of excitement in teacher Trish Hereaka’s classroom at morning playtime as Zespri staff set out lunchboxes and arranged the shoes that were to be given to all the class.

The children had some idea – as they had to give their shoes sizes to Trish, so that they got given shoes of the correct size. 

When the children finally arrived in class they found a lunch box on each of their desks and after a brief talk from Kim Harvey and Michael Fox the shoes were handed out.

Excitement reigned as the boxes were opened and the shoes tried on. 

Hereaka has been involved in the Zespri challenge before with another class and decided to do it again with this year with her new class. She says children being healthy and making healthy choices is really important to her.

“I like the fact the challenge encourages children to run around and do other things, rather than being on devices all the time,” she told Hort News

“That’s really good for children. I hope that, even when it’s over, they will continue on with these good habits.”

She says it was a very special day and the kids were ecstatic.

“The shoes a really cool and there will be some envious other kids at the school when they see my class running around in their new shoes,” she says.

Hereaka says working in a decile two school means that money is an issue for many parents and the school provides lunch for some children. They get fruit and until the end of the year also get milk. 

Hereaka says participation is some sporting activities can also be a barrier to families, with the cost of fees and equipment. However, she says some local clubs are helping with special free programmes for the school. 

Top of the class!

Alex Hoek is Massey University’s top horticultural student for 2020. 

Hoek was presented with his award at the recent annual Massey University agricultural graduation function by Emma Simpson from Zespri International, who coincidently won the same award a year ago.

Twenty-year-old Hoek hails from nearby Feilding and was brought up on a cut flower nursery. He completed the horticulture major of the Bachelor of Agri-Science degree, which has now been replaced by the Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree.  In mid-2019, he was selected to go on an industry-funded 15 day tour of The Netherlands, Belgium and South Korea, which helped increase his interest in production horticulture.  

Currently, Hoek is following an interest in seed production and vegetable breeding. Next month, he starts a 6-month internship with the seed company Barenbrug in Canterbury.  

Hoek was also placed second in the academic prize list for third-year students.

More like this

Off and running with Zespri!

Twenty-one students from a class at Hutt Valley’s Rata Street school, a decile two school, were among two classes in the country singled out to receive a new pair of ASIC shoes each from Zespri.

Govt to pick winners?

A brace of politicians recently hit Zespri’s Mount Maunganui headquarters to kickstart the already announced Agritech Industry Transformation Plan after a three-month delay due to Covid-19.



Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

Goat farming on the rise

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

TB fight goes on

The total number of TB-infected herds in Hawke’s Bay has risen to 20, following the recent reclassification of a new herd in the Waitara Valley.

Milking cows behind the barbed wire

A recent field day at the Waikeria Prison Farm near Te Awamutu offered farmers the chance to see what goes on “behind the wire”, alongside introducing the idea of farmers employing offenders near the end or after the term of their sentences.


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