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Zespri SunGold in production for the first time

Italy prepares for new kiwi season

Zespri is about to start the new season in Italy. The harvest will start around the end of October/beginning of November. The Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lazio have the highest number of kiwi growers. In these regions the climate is suitable for growing kiwis. During a visit to the kiwi farms, in the area of Ferrara in Northern Italy, it is clear that the quality of kiwis this year is better than its been in years. "Last year our harvest was not as good, but that has caused them to become stronger," said Ricardo Spinelli from Zespri. "Also, the weather conditions have been very good here. Kiwis need warm days and cold nights. In the south, production is a lot less this season, because it has not gotten really cold there.

The Zespri Green kiwis come from the Hayward breed. The plants from this green kiwi are much stronger than the plants from the yellow variety. This is why the PSA-disease, which has hit the rest of the farming world hard, has had considerably less influence on the Zespri Green. The Zespri Green yield is 900 trays, per hectare, high. This equals a harvest of 30 tons per hectare. The Gold variety is yielding between 45 and 50 tons per hectare.

Zespri SunGold

A new project has started for the cultivation of the new Zespri SunGold variety in Italy. The SunGold variety is the result of ten years of research. This kiwi is a little bit sweeter than the Green variety, but the sweet-and-sour balance of the classic kiwi still remains. Zespri Gold has been severely affected by the PSA-disease. The new Zespri SunGold strain has a higher tolerance against PSA and will, in the future, replace the Zespri Gold strain. 4000 hectares of this variety have already been planted in New Zealand and Zespri has also already started SunGold in Italy. On a test field in the area around Ferrara new plants were put away in 2012. These new plants will, for the first time, come into production this season. This project has been realized through cooperation with Aniplast, a company that specializes in films for greenhouses and vineyards. All the plants are covered so as to prevent damage from outside influences, such as wind. This kind of protection costs between 10-15,000 Euro. This is a considerable investment, especially because the protective film covering has to be replaced every five years. Until now the results have been good, but it will take years before an exact outcome is known, because plants will react differently to different weather conditions and environmental conditions.

For more information:
Nele Moorthamers
Marketing Manager Europe
ZESPRI International (Europe) NV.
Posthofbrug 10 bus 3
B-2600 Berchem
T + 32 3 201 08 05

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