Vegetable Research & Innovation

An online search to discover New Zealand based research papers for horticulture in New Zealand

Featured Research

This research catalogue contains published papers and reports and other research reports commissioned by the VR&I Board and contributing Product Groups.

Many of these documents are available directly on-line, in some cases they may be available only be emailing the Product Group concerned.

This page contains links to a selection of the latest research that has been supported by the VR&I Board.


Generic IPM Guideline for Vegetable Crops (2019)

PFR SPTS No. 17561 11/09/2019

While an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to pest and disease management is generally crop-specific, the
components and principles of an IPM programme are more generic.

The aim of this guideline is to provide vegetable growers, crop scouts, crop consultants and crop managers with an understanding of the key components and strategies for growing vegetable crops using IPM.

Original publication: Walker M, Davidson M, Wright P. March 2019. Generic IPM Guideline for Vegetable Crops. A Plant &
Food Research report prepared for: Vegetable Research & Innovation Board, Horticulture New Zealand Inc. Milestone
No. 80265. Contract No. 36516. Job code: P/336075/01. SPTS No. 17561.


Onions NZ Vegetables NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables NZ Tomatoes NZ Process Vegetables NZ IPM

Nitrate quick test mass balance tool (calculator) (2019)

MPI SFF project Nitrogen – Measure it and Manage it 29/08/2019

This tool is a simple calculator to convert quick test strip results into an estimate of the crop's demand for nitrogen. N supply estimates are automatically calculated from the input information.

This tool should be used alongside the 'Quick test mass balance user guide' which may downloaded from this website (keyword search: nitrate), or from the FAR website (

NZ Buttercup Squash Council Arable Arable Vegetables NZ Crop Management Process Vegetables NZ Nitrogen Onions NZ Vegetables

The nitrate quick test mass balance tool (2019)

MPI SFF project Nitrogen – Measure it and Manage it 29/08/2019

A nitrogen mass balance budget is a method to determine how much nitrogen fertiliser
should be applied to the crop to achieve its potential yield. However, for the budget to be
developed, estimates are required for the crop’s demand for nitrogen and how much of this
will be supplied by the soil.
Currently, there are two tests used to quantify soil nitrogen supply.

  • The mineral N test, which provides a measure of how much nitrogen is immediately available for plant uptake.
  • The anaerobically mineralisable N (AMN) test. This is an estimate of the N supply from the mineralisation of organic N.

For an effective nitrogen mass balance, both sources of nitrogen need to be measured. The
amount of mineral N in the soil can change quickly over a short period of time, especially as
crops take up nitrogen. It is useful to have quick and inexpensive methods for estimating soil
mineral nitrogen levels throughout the season. Previous work in New Zealand has shown
that Nitrate Quick Test strips are efficient and inexpensive.
This Guide provides guidance to growers on how to measure the soil nitrogen supply with
Nitrate Quick Test strips and make an informed fertiliser decision for the crop.

NZ Buttercup Squash Council Arable Arable Vegetables NZ Crop Management Process Vegetables NZ Nitrogen Onions NZ Vegetables

Good Management Practice: Neonicotinoids (2019)


The Vegetable Research & Innovation Board (VR&I) and the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) have commissioned a review of neonicotinoids to guide the development of Good Management Practices for New Zealand growers using neonicotinoids, while minimising the impact on the environment. The impacts of neonicotinoid use in horticulture has led to public concerns around the use of these agrichemicals in crops and as seed treatments. Public concerns focus particularly on impacts on the environment, the effect on the health of bees and colony collapse, and a decline in insect numbers in many countries, as well as human health and food safety issues. Agrichemical products in this group include clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam; and acetamiprid and thiacloprid which are less-widely used in New Zealand.


The key practices for neonicotinoid use have been highlighted in a brochure “General Principles for Good Management Practices: Neonicotinoids” developed specifically for New Zealand growers. In addition to implementing GMP, a key to ensuring best practice is communication and collaboration between growers and beekeepers, keeping each other informed of their activities throughout the seasons. 

Onions NZ Vegetables NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables NZ Tomatoes NZ Process Vegetables NZ Agrichemicals

Don't Muddy the Water. Final Summary Report (2019)

MPI SFF Project 407925 30/06/2019

Authors: Andrew Barber, Henry Stenning and Murray Hicks

Don’t Muddy the Water, was a 4 year long Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project focussed on Erosion & Sediment (E&S) control on cultivated horticultural land. The full analysis and results are contained within their own final reports available from HortNZ.

Agrilink and NIWA conducted a trial to determine the efficiency of Sediment Retention Ponds (SRP) on cultivated horticultural land. Weirs and autosamplers measured flow rates and collected suspended sediment samples from three different sized SRPs on a cultivated vegetable production site on Pukekohe Hill in Auckland.

NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables Arable Vegetables NZ Process Vegetables NZ Onions NZ Soil

Nutrient management of vegetable crops in New Zealand (2019)


By JB Reid and J D Morton

In 1986, MAF published Fertiliser Recommendations for Horticultural Crops. The book summarised nutrient requirements for the major vegetable crops based on research results obtained up till then (Wood et al. 1986). In 2000, the Vegetable Growers Handbook (Wallace 2000) contained information for fertiliser use, but the scientific basis for many recommendations was unclear. Since then, much has changed in the business, social and regulatory environment of horticulture. Crop location, varieties, management practices and yield expectations have changed, and growers are more aware of the impact of their practices on the environment. New scientific approaches have enabled researchers to quantify the influences of many of the key interactions between plants, soils, and management that influence productivity, profitability and risk.

This book builds on the 1986 recommendations with the results of a further thirty-odd years of research. In addition, there is information on environmental impacts and improving the efficiency of fertiliser use. The format is deliberately brief and direct.These recommendations are intended to be a guide based on the best current experimental evidence; they are not prescriptive requirements. At times it may be beneficial to use the skills of a nutrient management adviser to interpret and if necessary modify them for specific circumstances.

This book is intended to be a resource of best-practice advice to manage the nutrition of vegetable crops in New Zealand (NZ). The emphasis is firmly on practices that are scientifically defensible.

Onions NZ Beans Carrots Peas Sweetcorn NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables NZ Cabbage Onions Squash Fertilisers Tomatoes NZ Broccoli Lettuce Spinach Vegetables Process Vegetables NZ Beetroot Cauliflower Potatoes Tomatoes

Nutrient management for vegetable crops in NZ - recommendations and supporting information. Edition 1.0 (2019)

Milestone No. 79795. Contract No. NA. Job code: P/442060/23. SPTS No. 17238. DOI 10.5281/zenodo.2401444

This publication is a resource of further detail for the 2019 book Nutrient Recommendations for Vegetable Crops in NZ (Reid & Morton 2019).

Onions NZ Asparagus Cabbage Onions Squash NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables NZ Broccoli Lettuce Spinach Fertilisers Tomatoes NZ Beetroot Cauliflower Potatoes Tomatoes Process Vegetables NZ Beans Carrots Peas Sweetcorn

An evaluation of downy mildew control in onions with registered fungicides (2019)

This field trial evaluates downy mildew control in onions with registered fungicides. This field trial is an extension from the laboratory trials carried out by Plant & Food Research testing for resistance of fungicides to downy mildew (Wright and Beresford, 2019).  In this Pukekohe-based field trial a variety of fungicide treatments were applied and their ability to control downy mildew incidence was assessed. Applications of Zampro, Acrobat, Zorvec Enicade + Dithane and Reason + Dithane all provided significant and consistent downy mildew control. Overall, There was no significant difference in downy mildew control between the fungicide treatments. These results have been generated from a single field trial and as such should be interpreted with this in mind.

Onions Onions NZ Fungicides Downy Mildew

Sanitisers in vegetable food safety (2018)

Report PFP SPTS No. 17127 01/10/2018

This report reviews current practices for sanitiser use in the New Zealand vegetable industry. 

Vegetables Vegetables NZ Sanitisers Postharvest Food

Rootzone reality: technical review on network performance (2018)

PFR SPTS No. 01/05/2018

In July 2014 two projects were commissioned to establish a network of passive-wick tension fluxmeters located in commercial cropping farms in the Canterbury, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Waikato and Auckland regions. The network is being used to quantify losses of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in drainage water from below the crop rootzone. In this report we provide a technical review on the performance of the fluxmeter network for the period 1 October 2014 to 28 February 2018. This includes an evaluation of measured drainage volumes against modelled outputs (generated with a mechanistic soil water balance model) and a summary of N and P losses in drainage from the 12 sites. At most sites, this reporting period represents at least 3 years of data collection allowing for multiple crop rotations and the dissipation of settling effects following installation of the fluxmeter units.
From this review we conclude that six of the twelve sites are operating satisfactorily with average drainage volumes captured by the fluxmeters comparing well to modelled outputs (Table i). At these sites (Site’s 1 to 6), the timing of drainage events and patterns of drainage accumulation were generally consistent with modelled data, despite sometimes large variation in the volumes captured by individual fluxmeter units. Drainage variability was attributed to different patterns of accumulation across the sites as affected by topography, soil physical and crop factors. At the remaining six sites, drainage data was, on occasion, compromised through flooding (Site’s 7, 11 and 12) or through the apparent failure of the fluxmeters to effectively capture drainage (Site’s 8 and 9). Importantly, at five of these six sites, the fluxmeter units were found to be operational and effective at capturing drainage. Only at Site 8 were serious questions raised about the performance of the fluxmeters, a number of which captured no drainage in 41 months of monitoring.

Onions NZ Fluxmeters NZ Buttercup Squash Council Vegetables Vegetables NZ Process Vegetables NZ