ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

We are a new orchard, first plantings 2003, specialising only in cherries determined to minimise our ecological footprint and produce top quality fruit. To achieve this we have installed the latest machinery in a brand new purpose built packhouse. We are fully accredited to NZGAP and EUROGAP standards and are part of Summergreen programme following all the accept best practise standards and experimenting to improve on that.

Soil moisture is monitored across our different soil types by ourselves using aquaflex on daily basis and by an independent, weekly, monitoring service using sophisticated neutron absorption technology. Water is applied as required by undertree irrigation. To minimise water application for frost fighting a triple system is used. Nets trap the warm air reducing the radiative cooling at night, the irrigation system cuts in when temperature reaches critical value which varies with the stage of fruit development, and only once that has failed to hold the cooling the large overhead sprinklers start. We are only 20km from a major hydro scheme and all our power is from renewable sources.

By extensive use of pheromone traps the insect pressure is monitored.
Applying insecticide at the critical time allows us to use only one spray pre harvest and one post harvest. Depending on the result of current "mating disruption" trials we hope to eliminate these insecticides all together and use only mating disruption techniques.

We use leaf sampling as well as soil tests to determine the nutritional needs of the trees. Fertigation (fertiliser mixed into irrigation water) allows us to apply just the right amount in a manner which reduces leaching or run off to zero. Water quality tests prove this. Under tree strata contains lots of legumes (nitrogen fixers) so our nitrogen demand is extremely low, one small dose in autumn to set up the trees for flowering and first 6 weeks of spring growth. Only after about 3 weeks into spring the trees begin to take up nitrogen from the soil.

We have transformed our land from a barren block with almost no carbon sequestering content to a vibrant orchard.

Lots has been said about food miles and a lot more will be said. Much is due to the covert protectionism movement of EU producers. A far better method is to look at the overall carbon footprint.

Our fruit travels by different means to different destinations. Some of it is air freighted all the way, some by sea and others by combination of all available methods. For example our cherries, destined for EU, are often flown to LA then transhipped by rail to USA east coast and finally sea freighted to EU port closest to its final market. The simplistic tag of 12,000 air miles is totally erroneous. Our trees sequester more than our air miles or operations produce. It has been shown that New Zealand farmers exporting meat and diary to EU have a lower overall carbon footprint than then their European counterparts. Similar studies are underway for other produce including summer fruit.

Without export any cherry production in New Zealand becomes absolutely uneconomic and the carbon sequestering in the orchard trees is lost. We only have 4 million people spread over an area larger than England and about same size as Japan and therefore are absolutely dependant on overseas markets for economic survival.

CENTRAL CHERRIES - PO BOX 8 - CROMWELL - CENTRAL OTAGO
Rapid 828, Luggate-Cromwell Road, State Highway 6, Cromwell
NEW ZEALAND - Ph +64 3 445 4600, Fax +64 3 445 4603