February 2019 Newsletter

NZWIG Newsletter 18 February 2019 – Professor David McNeil’s seminar, a nifty drying system, notes on Phytophthora and more. View Here

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1 December 2018 Newsletter

Our 1 December 2018 Newsletter has just been added to the Newsletter Archive

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September 2018 Newsletter

Our September 2018 Newsletter has just been added to the Newsletter Archive

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2018 Annual Meeting and Field day

WIG Field Day, AGM and Annual Dinner – Saturday July 7th 1pm to 8.30pm

Programme for the day

The Walnut Industry Group Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday July 7th at the Two Fat Possums Restaurant, 745 Weedons Ross Rd at 5pm. Tea and coffee will be provided.

Preceding the AGM will be a visit to three properties looking at harvesting, drying and storage of walnuts. With the increasing walnut yields we are getting from our orchards it has become important that good systems are in place to efficiently wash and dry walnuts.

Starting at 1.00 pm, the first place we will visit is to Basil and Trudi Meyer’s property at 719 Telegraph Rd. Basil and Trudi will show us their German harvester made by Feucht Oberechnik. This harvester is very manueuverable, lightweight, and with a pick up width of about 2 metres. They will also show us their compost spreader also imported from Germany. This spreader is smaller than the larger New Zealand spreaders. Basil applies Living Earth compost at a rate of 8 tonnes to the hectare.

At 2.30pm we will visit Tony and Ngarie Sigmund’s orchard at 63 Neave Rd in West Melton. Tony and Ngarie have 10 acres with 400 trees in their orchard. They will show us their washing  machine and drying bins with carpet blowers which include the use of dehumidifiers.

At 3.30 we will visit Alan and Adrian Robinson’s orchard at 627 Halkett Rd in West Melton. Alan and Adrian have imported a 3.6 metre tower drying system that can dry 400kg of nuts in 2 days using electric heating and blowers.

Following these visits at 5pm will be the AGM in the function room at Two Fat Possums Restaurant at 745 Weedons Ross Rd in West Melton (opposite the West Melton School).An important part of the AGM will be the election of committee members. This year we are looking for new committee members to join. Nelson Hubber has be a loyal and long serving chairperson on our committee and would like to step down. Please give some thought to consider putting your name forward on being a committee member. There are only 5 meetings a year so its not a big time commitment.

Following the AGM at 6.30pm will be the Annual WIG dinner also at Two Fat Possums. I have booked the function room here which proved successful last year.

NZ Walnut 2017 Dinner

Members enjoying our 2017 Annual Dinner

Please RSVP Dave Malcolm (dandj.malcolm@gamil.com) by 4th July if you intend to come to the dinner for booking purposes. This year the dinner will be $40 for two courses (a choice of one of three mains and one of three desserts).

Looking forward to seeing you there. Your attendance will be much appreciated.
Kind regards
Dave Malcolm
Events Coordinator
NZ Walnut Industry Group

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Newsletter December 2017

Our December 2017 newsletter has just been added to the newsletter archive page

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Transition to Organic, Harvesting and Drying Field Day

Saturday 14th October 2017, on a member’s property near Lincoln, Contact us for details.

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The 2011 Cultivar Trial

The 2011 walnut cultivar trial

Heather North & Anna Brenmuhl, NZWIG research committee, October 2015

Introduction – NZWIG cultivar trials

At present, most commercial walnut orchards in New Zealand are dominated by just two cultivars – Rex and Meyric – with other cultivars in only small numbers. Rex and Meyric were recommendations from the NZ Tree Crops Association selection trials at Lincoln University, which were planted in the mid 1980s and started producing results in the mid 1990s. NZWIG would like to see continuing progress in this area, with the goal being a wider range of good cultivar options available to walnut growers.

So in 2005, the first of our two cultivar trials was planted. It contains Serr (a USA cultivar imported in the 1970s); selections from Vernon Harrison, Jenny and Malcolm Lawrence, and Diana Loader; and Rex and Meyric for comparison. The research committee is currently involved in detailed assessments of walnut samples from this trial (looking at factors such as weight of nuts, visual attractiveness, shell seal and crack-out percentage). We also have multi-year data on tree growth, timing of budburst and flowering, and yield. In the near future we will be able to publish a report with initial recommendations on which of the cultivars are the most promising (our progress report from several years ago is listed below as North (2012)).

Then in 2011, a second cultivar trial was planted, and this is the one we are reporting on here. Because the trees are still young, we only have growth data so far. This trial contains three cultivars imported from Tasmania in 2009: Lara (originally from France), and Tulare and Howard (originally from USA). Information about how these cultivars were chosen for import can be found on the web page listed below (North, 2009). The trial also contains four further New Zealand selections and Rex and Meyric for comparison.


Design of the 2011 cultivar trial

There are three trial sites – one in North Otago and two in central Canterbury (Aylesbury and Charing Cross). We had been hoping to also include a North Island site but were unable to find one.

The nine varieties being trialled have been given code numbers so they can be assessed without bias: the code numbers are 220 to 228. Jenny Lawrence is holding the codes and name correspondences and, once we are ready to make recommendations from the trial, we will ‘crack the code’ and report them by name.

At the largest of the sites (Aylesbury) there are five replicates of each of the nine varieties being trialled (i.e. 45 trees in all). At the North Otago site there are five replicates of most varieties, but no trees of 228. At the smallest of the sites (Charing Cross) there are four replicates of most varieties but no trees of 226. Most trees were planted in 2011 but a few were added in 2012. In particular these were of varieties 226, 228 and 220 for which we had poorer grafting wood available and lower grafting success.

The varieties are randomly located within the sites, using randomised block layouts. They are labelled by their code number.


Progress so far

Each winter, from 2012 to 2015 inclusive, we have measured the trunk diameters of all the trial trees. Trunk diameter (measured at a height of 600mm) is our standard method of tracking tree growth. Table 1 shows the average trunk diameters in 2015 (averaged for each variety) after four years of growth. Figure 1 shows the same data in graphical form.


Table 1: Average trunk diameter (at 600mm height) in 2015 (mm) for each variety on each trial site. The cells shaded blue indicate those varieties where all, or a significant number, of the trees were planted a year later (in 2012). In addition to the shaded cells at the North Otago site, a number of other individual trees were planted or transplanted late. The varieties have been ordered from largest to smallest using the trunk diameters at the Aylesbury site

Trunk Diameter Chart

Table 2

Figure 1: 2015 trunk diameter data from Table 1 in graphical form, ordered from largest to smallest by the trunk diameter at the Aylesbury site. Those varieties planted later (in 2012) are highlighted in blue in Table 1.


There are differences in tree growth between sites but this is not our main interest. What we wish to find out is which varieties perform the best and the worst within each site. There have been a few tree deaths at each site. In Table 2 we show the number of trees of each variety remaining alive at each site (out of the number planted).


Table 2: Number of trees remaining alive at each trial site out of number planted

Trunk Diameter Chart 2

In coming years we will continue to collect growth data and, as the trees get older, we will also collect information on budburst and flowering times, yield and walnut characteristics.



NZWIG research committee thanks Darrell Johnston of River Terrace Nurseries for propagating the trees in the cultivar trial, and the trial growers – Russell Hurst, Hugh & Jill Stevenson and Anna Brenmuhl – for making the sites available.


North H, 2012. Report on NZWIG trial of New Zealand walnut selections. Health in a Shell 79: 2–17.

North H, 2009. Choosing the cultivars to import for trial.

Posted in 2011 Cultivar Trial, Cultivars, Research