Category Archives: events

Sustainable Weed Management Workshop

Approaches to the non-chemical / sustainable management of weeds

Register here> Download pdf here>

With the increasing and well know issues surrounding herbicides, such as resistant weeds, ‘resistant’ consumers and increased regulation, non-chemical/herbicide weed management is becoming increasingly important. 

In response to this need, the BHU Future Farming Centre, NZ’s leading specialist sustainable agriculture research centre, and LandWISE with its focus on sustainable production through technology are putting on the third non-chemical weed management workshop to give attendees the knowledge and tools they need to make significant enhancements to the long-term sustainability of their on-farm weed management practices. 

Topics covered include: the context of weed management; essential weed biology and ecology; integrated weed management; plus detailed coverage of field operations and machinery.  The course will run from 8:30 – 4:30 on Thursday 20 July, at the Centre for Land and Water, 21 Ruahapia Rd, RD10, Hastings 4180, and cost $275+GST including lunch and refreshments.  Full information can be found at  Registration is essential and is through the LandWISE website

Dr Charles Merfield, Head of the Future Farming Centre, says “this practically focused course will give attendees a sound overview of the whole of non-chemical weed management as well as providing practical details about how to implement the ideas once they get back to the farm.  The feedback from attendees at the previous workshops was very positive and we expect this year’s course to be every bit as valuable.” 

Dan Bloomer, LandWISE manager says “Our members are well aware of the limitations of current weed management tools and practices. They recognise simple chemical solutions are increasingly limited and more sophisticated management is essential.”

For further information please contact:

Dr Charles Merfield
Head, BHU Future Farming Centre
021 0231 8901
Dan Bloomer
LandWISE Manager
021 356 801

Baker Ag “Inspiring Agriculture”

The BakerAg Winter Seminar

Wednesday 5th July 2017, Copthorne Solway Park Hotel, Masterton

Baker Ag are proud to announce that this year’s seminar has one of the best line-ups yet:

• Melissa Clark-Reynolds – disruptive technologies.
• Dr Charles Merfield – alternate solutions to drenching and weed spraying.
• Ian Williams – how are our farm systems being changed in the name of “sustainability”.
• Richmond Beetham – the wakeup call from the Waikato!
• James Lockhart & Sully Alsop – Benchmarking, a fad or real tool for progress?
• Steve Maharey and Andrew Gibbs – international change and megatrends – what does it mean for NZ?
• Willie Falloon – what are we changing.

Matt Watson, from the Ultimate Fishing Show is the After Dinner Speaker.

There is a free bus service for any attendees from Rangitikei, Manawatu, and Tararua regions. Put the date in your diary.

Tickets are limited to 250 and they are selling fast $185/head – includes dinner and drinks.

To book your tickets talk to

Supporting digital innovation

We are delighted that Dr Amanda Lynn is confirmed as a key speaker at our Annual AgTech Conference LandWISE 2017: Are we ready for automation?

Amanda’s focus for this event is on moving “change” away from something that happens to us, to something we do as a natural part of our personal, business, economic and social development. This is called “purposive change” and she will explain how we create, adapt and integrate it.

When we talk about change we often do so without a clear idea of what is meant, and without recognition of our own—individual and collective—roles in adapting to change, or even catalysing it. 

We seldom talk about levels of change and processes of development; instead, getting caught in black and white terminology like “disruption” and forgetting that change is natural, incremental and evolutionary. 

Innovation is purposive change.  We can sometimes forget that purposive change is something we—people—are very, very good at.  And there’s a lot of us; resulting in a lot of purposive change. 

The Executive Director of the Innovation Partnership, and Chair of the Innovation Partnership Forum,  Amanda specialises in development. 

The Innovation Partnership is a not-for-profit Trust.  Sponsored by Google, Chorus and InternetNZ, the Innovation Partnership connects businesses, educators and Government entities to support digital innovation. 

In addition to working with the Innovation Partnership, Amanda leads her own contracting enterprise, Mandolin Associates, undertaking public speaking, research and advisory services, and through this has worked closely with some of New Zealand’s leading agriculture and aquaculture innovators. 

Amanda is a member of the New Zealand Association of Economists, and a Professional Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Is the Juice worth the Squeeze?

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts, Head of Industrial Robotics at Cambridge Consultants UK is confirmed as a keynote speaker for our Annual Conference. LandWISE 2017: Are we ready for automation?

Cambridge Consultants is a world-class supplier of innovative product development engineering and technology consulting with more than 500 staff including scientists, mathematicians, engineers and designers.

Chris was one of the presenters at AgriTech-East’s Robotics Pollinator in October 2016, which Dan attended as part of his Trimble Foundation Study Trip investigating farm robotics.

“I was really impressed with Chris and his presentation. He worked clearly  and methodically through the issues that need very careful consideration.” 

In this presentation Chris will take a look at the prospects for robotic fruit harvesting, an issue of note in New Zealand as production levels rise and labour availability reduces.

Some of Chris’ questions:

  • Automation has existed in agriculture for decades: what’s new?
  • Why hasn’t it happened everywhere already?
  • Which tasks to automate?
  • What has to come together for a  successful harvesting robot?

Chris will address these questions and more at LandWISE 2017.

Field day – mesh crop covers for insect and blight control on potatoes

Tuesday 14 March 9.00 am – 11.00 am

FAR field site, North West corner of Springs and Ellesmere Junction Roads, Lincoln Google map.  Access off Springs Road, 300 m north of Roundabout.

Join FAR, Potatoes NZ, and the BHU Future Farming Centre for a roundup of results to date on the use of mesh crop covers for potato pest & disease control and the findings from the current field trial. 

  • How mesh covers are controlling blight
  • Mesh and tomato potato psyllid TPP control
  • Aphids and mesh
  • Potential yield boost from mesh due to improved microclimate

Get reports from the first two years trials here

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) (Bactericera cockerelli) arrived in New Zealand in 2006 and has proved to be a important pest in a number of solanaceae crops, including potatoes.  While insecticides have proved effective for its management, this has caused a large increase in agrichemical use which is undesirable, and this option is not available to organic growers.  A ‘non-chemical’ means of controlling TPP is therefore desirable.  Mesh crop covers are such a non-chemical control: they are akin to fly screen for crops. They are extensively used in Europe for controlling a wide range of pests on an equally wide range of crops by both organic and mainstream growers. 


Prior research by the FFC made the serendipitous discovery that mesh crop covers are not only an effective barrier to TPP but they are also achieving significant potato blight (Phytophthora infestans and/or Alternaria solani) control.  A correlation has been shown between a reduction in UV a & b light levels and blight and also TPP symptoms. 

As mesh can keep out a wide range of potato insect pests, including those that are resistant to insecticides, such as tuber moth, it has the potential to be a single non-chemical solution to both insect pests and blight on potatoes.  As potatoes are the 4th most important food crop globally, with more grown in the developing world than the developed world, the potential global impact in terms of reduced agrichemical use is considerable.

However, potato aphids, mostly Myzus persicae, are penetrating the mesh, even mesh that has sufficiently small holes to exclude winged (and wingless) adults.  Once inside the mesh, their populations can explode due to the absence of beneficial insects, in effect, it is an unintentional experiment on the level of biological control of aphids. 

Mesh with sufficiently small holes to exclude immature aphid instars has been tested and resulted in a second serendipitous that the fine mesh appears to be modifying the under mesh micro-climate resulting in increased yields, while also improving blight control. 
Such very fine mesh has the potential therefore to completely control all potato insect pests, as well as blight and increase yield through entirely physical means. 

The field day will provide an opportunity to hear more about the research as well as viewing mesh on potatoes.