Welcome 2021

Posted on January 29, 2021

Did anybody make any New Years resolutions this year? I think most of us skipped that formality this year. The reality check of 2020 seemed to sit us down in the chair named “extreme cold hard facts”. What we wished for and what we got were poles apart.

Early January is a good time for us to think and plan ahead for 12 months. It was very interesting this year how the planning for the unexpected, is now expected, and seems very sensible. Kauri Park has a plan. It does bring to mind a Mike Tyson quote:

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson could be best described as interesting. Quotations from him that can be used as a business analogy are very sparse. This one is relevant though. What is your Plan B, C & D when plan A ends abruptly and with eye watering consequences?

Lock down again anyone? The pandemic isn’t going away in the near future so yes, we need to plan for it. Last week is a timely reminder for us. As a wider industry we need to work together with a united voice to keep business activity moving through a potential lockdown(s) this year. We can’t afford as a nation to go through another lengthy downturn and we can social distance very simply in our industry space.

The world has contracted in a large way. We operate within our day to day lives and those close to us. We can’t travel and so are relying on digital platforms if necessary, to connect and this has further contracted the world. These platforms can help limit the amount of face to face if a lockdown occurs again.

Another issue that appears in planning discussion and future thinking is water. The water shortage in Auckland is a stark reminder and threat to those that rely on the potable water for their nurseries. While many nurseries aren’t in those catchments it is a sign that access to good quantities of good water will be a top of priority for plant producers. Plants need water and sunlight to survive and that won’t change on this planet for as long as photosynthesis is operating.

Maybe as a nation we feel that water is abundant so we can be wasteful here and there? Maybe we think good access to water is the right of every New Zealander? Maybe it is time as an industry to be very mindful that we could be dictated to by those who don’t understand our needs, and it could get harder for us in the future?

Conversations need to be had about water storage and the easing of barriers to creating storage. Part of our environmental approach needs to look at smart irrigation systems and designs. Israel are possibly the pioneers and leaders in smart use of every drop of water for irrigation through digital farming platforms. Israel have turned a desert into food production through very smart water use. There are many smart irrigation companies operating globally now. Kauri Park uses the Netafim systems https://www.netafim.com/en/Sustainable-agriculture/

What about water planning in Auckland though? The wastewater and stormwater articulation capacity are behind quality and volume standards and it is embarrassing. Beaches closed due to pollution from wastewater overflowing into the stormwater networks. Wellington has overloaded old infrastructure bursting and pouring into the harbour. This needs funding and action to fix the overloading fast. Most potable water treatment plants, and the wastewater treatment plants are efficient and up to international standard. The fact that there is so few of them and huge pipelines and pump stations is not future proofed in our opinion. Why can’t treatment be decentralised, and water pumped shorter distances and recycled and used in the surrounding areas? Most liveable city Auckland or Wellington? Need to sort the s*#t stuff out first 😊. Why can’t New Zealand start including and incorporating concepts such as Organica Water “Bluehouse” or “Villa” into the fringes of the urban planning? https://www.organicawater.com/components-of-our-facilities/

Boxing day hail in Motueka brought back memories of our storm we had here on a Saturday morning December 2003. Hailstones up to golf ball size wiped out every large leaf plant, damaged a huge amount of our stock and smashed our greenhouses. The piles of ice were still on the ground Monday morning.

The one storm passing through Motueka while the orchards were in fruit did around $35,000.00 damage per second to the local economy. Mother Nature can be cruel but that is the world we as plant producers operate in and we can’t ignore natures forces. They will happen again. We have spoken to some of the growers and they budget for these setbacks and also some spread their risks by having multiple orchards across the region. This storm was the widest band of hail that even some of the older orchardists can remember. This is part of the cost of growing a plant or fruit. These setback costs have to be carried as part of the price of producing the goods and services we provide.

The most alarming damage from this storm was the wipe out of the hops. The cost of beer may go up.

Expectations from people buying goods and services in the current world we are living in have multiple layers. People are asking for more transparency and knowledge about the processes that go into the product or service they are looking to purchase. While we have mentioned some of the unseen infrastructure and growing costs there are other intangible angles to consider.

Growing plants is not just about producing (as often used in sales terminology), a “Widget” or an item of something. This could be explained as seedling, pot, soil, fertilizer plus some labour inputs. The end user is wanting to know if the product that you are supplying them is produced in a fair and reasonable way.

Some of the layers of producing a plant in 2021:

All of these aspects are now part of the overheads and cost of producing goods. These are the layers expected and they are often being placed in priority before price. In some tenders now these elements are allocated a financial value as part of the calculation of what a project is worth. The values are either awarded as a penalty if the score is low or a discount is the scoring is high.

Kauri Park is well past halfway to producing the plants needed to see us through 2021. The weather is being kind to us especially the warm rains. We look forward to another fantastic year and hopefully everything goes to our plan…without the punch to the face.

On another unrelated note that many of our readers will recognise…Kauri Park congratulates Megan Whitehead for breaking the woman’s world record in 9 hours solo shearing. http://shearingrecords.co.nz/solo.html This is a huge effort that maybe doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Professional shearers are some of the toughest and most disciplined athletes on earth.