Hi-Cane is an important tool for many kiwifruit growers and is used under strict conditions once a year in late winter (late July to early September) when the vines are dormant. The spray helps to produce greater yields of quality fruit which ripens at the same time making it easier to harvest.
The industry has done a lot of work over the years to develop best practice spray technology guidelines and developed compulsory measures for all growers to mitigate risk. The industry also wants to make sure people in communities where Hi-Cane is used understand their rights and the industry’s commitment to keeping people safe and the environment protected. Zespri and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) work together to ensure all growers and spray contractors understand their responsibilities for safe spraying and growers overwhelmingly take their obligations to their communities seriously.
All growers are certified to the internationally recognised best practice standards benchmarked against a system called Global GAP which actually sets higher standards than local regulations in many standards.
Growers are required to mitigate the risk of Hi-Cane drifting off their orchards by using special nozzles with a drift-reducing additive and having shelter belts and buffer zones. (AI nozzles make the spray droplets bigger and heavier to reduce the risk of drift) and by having shelter belts and buffer zones.
The EPA is re-assessing Hi-Cane’s approval for use in New Zealand. NZKGI and Zespri submitted a response to the EPA’s Call for Information in May last year.
The next step is for EPA to issue an application for reassessment and will call for public submissions on the proposals. Zespri and NZKGI will work together again to develop a response and encourage growers to have their say.