Shelter is an important aspect of kiwifruit orchard management in New Zealand. It helps protect crops from wind damage, reduces the risk of defoliation, flower loss, stem damage, and PSA infection. It also helps prevent off-target spray drift and reduces buffer zones, which is essential for managing spray drift near sensitive areas.
To meet the requirements of 2025 Zespri GAP, all new orchard developments or newly producing orchards must have adequate shelter in place before the first year of supply. This new document outlines the minimum standards for land title and sensitive area boundary shelter on kiwifruit orchards. This is to ensure optimal benefits and meet customer, community, and regulatory expectations.
Shelter must be placed along any orchard boundary that borders a sensitive area, such as public water supply catchments, rivers, streams, public parks, residential houses, and commercial buildings. The minimum height for shelter is 5 meters, but exceptions apply when local regulations restrict height or when safety is affected.
The type of shelter used can be either natural or artificial. For natural shelters, fast-growing, pest-resistant evergreen varieties are recommended. The porosity of natural shelters should ensure a significant reduction in spray drift without being too dense to cause drift to move unpredictably. Artificial shelters should consider the surrounding environment and likelihood of high winds. To provide appropriate spray drift mitigation, artificial shelters should meet the minimum height requirements and one of the following: single layer 80% porosity, single and double-layer combination, double layer, or two layers of 50% porosity separated by a minimum of 100mm.
In the case of no effective shelter, a 30m spray buffer will apply. All shelter must also comply with minimum setback requirements set by the local authority.