It’s that time of the year when the Lonza field team are busy laying and rating trials. This year we have trials on a wide range of crops. These include the vegetable crops potatoes, peas, tomatoes, squash, and onions. Fruit crops apples, kiwifruit, Avocado, lemons and grapes for wine. Forage crops such as brassicas and beets along with traditional grazing systems like pasture and Lucerne. The team has also carried out some initial work with hemp. Problems being worked on for these crops include insects, weeds and fungi. There are also trials aimed at plant physiology to change bud break characteristics or increasing yield.

 

Our three field scientists around the country have to be very adaptable as they could be assessing very small insects like thrips on onions in the morning and then harvesting bulky squash in the afternoon.  All this work generates a huge amount of numbers but thanks to new technology of data collectors, web based storage programs and apps that can analyse the data, results can summarized the same day and immediately viewed by staff in other locations.

 

This year we have employed two university students to assist with these trials, one was located in New Plymouth and the other in Hawkes Bay. We must thank Callaghan Innovation for an R&D student grant to assist with hiring these students. A great win win situation with the student gaining invaluable experience about field research techniques and also allowing the Lonza scientists to generate even more numbers and thus helping with the reliability of results.