Farmers urged to order high performing mānuka seedlings

Farmers are being urged to order high performance mānuka seedlings by the end of September or risk missing the optimum planting period for 2018

Recently the Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston announced 101 applicants had been successful in getting funding support via the Ministry for Primary Industries’ 2017 Afforestation Grant Scheme funding round.

In selecting mānuka seedlings to plant, Mānuka Farming NZ General Manager Stephen Lee said farmers can take advantage of high performance mānuka seedlings that have been scientifically selected, control pollinated and field tested at trial sites by Comvita Limited and Manuka Research Partnership Ltd throughout New Zealand.

“We have developed, tested and trialled five high performance mānuka varieties that are designed and tailored for specific regions over the last six years,” says Mr Lee.  “At the same time we provide wrap-around services to ensure greater planting and growing success.

Mr Lee said the mānuka plantation presentations at the National Field Days in June drew strong interest from farmers, especially those keen to create revenue streams from difficult non-productive parts of their land such as erosion prone land.

It is estimated that 1.1 million hectares of land is at serious risk of erosion, and forest cover, like mānuka, is a really good form of erosion control.

“We have launched a consultancy service that best utilises the information we’ve gained from our ongoing research programme and our grower community.  As part of this, we’ve produced a six step process for property owners to guide successful mānuka plantation establishment.

Mānuka Farming NZ has increased production of high performance mānuka seedlings from 305,000 seedlings in 2015, to 1 million in 2016 and this has increased again in 2017.

“We have had strong demand for two years now and we expect the same this year,” says Mr Lee.

Mānuka Farming NZ is the commercial arm of Mānuka Research Partnership (NZ) Limited (MRPL),  created as part of a Primary Growth Partnership programme with MPI called High Performance Mānuka Plantations.

MRPL shareholders include Comvita NZ Limited, Landcorp Farming Limited, Arborex Industries Limited, DC and CY Tweeddale Partnership, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Nukuhau Carbon Limited and Te Tumu Paeroa the Maori Trustee.

“Our collective knowledge, ongoing research and trials in our PGP programme places us at the forefront of the science and practical knowhow regarding the successful establishment of mānuka plantations and integrated apiary requirements.”

Mānuka Farming NZ offers a consultancy service which includes a virtual assessment of the property prior to an onsite feasibility visit, access to services for land environment planning, site appraisal, planting & husbandry, and they’re able to introduce landowners to apiarist partners and investors.

“It’s important that we provide a full range of services and support for landowners that are interested in this fast growing industry,” says Mr Lee.

“MRPL has invested significantly in the science of growing mānuka and we have got cultivars that will suit a wide range of climate and environment situations throughout New Zealand.”

Orders close at the end of September with delivery between May and September 2018.

For more information about the Ministry for Primary Industries’ 2017 Afforestation Grant Scheme see https://beehive.govt.nz/release/more-new-forests-funded-through-grant-scheme