Growing Sustainability in New Zealand’s Horticulture Industry

Spring is upon us, and after an incredibly challenging year so far, growers in the Horticulture industry will be looking forward to a new growing season and considering how their practices can ensure optimal yields and environmentally positive outcomes to be well placed for the changing conditions being experienced locally and globally.

In February this year, HortNZ launched the Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan, which includes some key outcome areas such as growing sustainability, mitigating climate change and ensuring that science and knowledge underpin research and development. 

In this article, we would like to focus on these key areas and talk about two products from Roots, Shoots & Fruits that can give growers a head-start this growing season to achieve better crop yields and sustainable environmental outcomes and play a part in mitigating the impacts of climate change – all backed up with science and knowledge.

It all starts in the soil.

Anyone who works with soil understands how important it is to maintain healthy soil that is teeming with a complex ecosystem of fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.  Trials show that there are huge benefits to growers in terms of yield with the addition of beneficial fungi and bacteria as part of their planting programme.

Beneficial organisms in your soil can proliferate through improved soil structure that reduces erosion and improves water retention. The benefits to your crops include increased yields, more nutrient-dense produce and greater disease resistance.  All of these factors ensure a sustainable approach to growing and will nurture the land for generations to come.

In addition, we are all becoming more aware of the earth’s delicate carbon cycle and the part that carbon sinks play in ensuring this cycle remains in balance.  Unsurprisingly, currently, the carbon cycle is out of balance, and we are seeing the impacts of this in the changes in our climate, some of which are devastating to many who work on the land.

Soil, along with the oceans, is an important carbon sink for the planet, capable of storing more carbon than vegetation alone. Soil contains almost two times as much carbon as the atmosphere, living flora, and animals combined. And the good news is that the healthier your soil, the more carbon it can store.

Implementing change in your Industry.

One simple and effective way to grow sustainability and mitigate climate change, backed by science and knowledge, is to add mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial organisms to your planting programme. Mycorrhizae are the main pathway of carbon into the soil, and Mycorrhizal fungi is now recognised in the Verra Verified Carbon Standard Program, recognizing mycorrhizal inoculants as a valid method of sequestering carbon in the soil.

Pairing two Roots, Shoots & Fruits products, Rootella and Superzyme, results in a dynamic duo that guarantees optimal plant performance across various conditions with an environmental focus.  Rootella will introduce your crops to Mycorrhizal fungi, a family of beneficial fungi that work symbiotically with your crops’ root system. They form a vast network of thin strands that connect to roots and provide many benefits, including the production of Glyco-proteins that are capable of carbon storage permanence, storing carbon in the soil for an extended period.

A simple diagram below shows how Mycorrhizal fungi work in trapping carbon. Compared to untreated plants, Mycorrhizal fungi create a tangible difference in the soil structure, nutrient trapping (in particular phosphorus) and overall plant growth.  

Superzyme contains important Trichoderma species, T koningii and T harzianum as well as beneficial bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas putida, to enhance soil life.  The combination of both Rootella (mycorrhizal fungi) and Superzyme in your planting regime will ensure high yields, and high-functioning soil and reduce the need for fertilisers and insecticides through improved disease resistance.  Enhanced above and below-ground diversity optimises soil, plant, and human health, creating an enduring environment in which the horticulture industry can thrive.

Learn more about Rootella here

Learn more about Superzyme here

If you are interested in reading more about HortNZ’s Aotearoa Horticulture Action Plan, follow the link here.

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