Good decision pays off

18 May 2022

In 2021, Billy Singh set a goal to pick 20,000 trays of SunGold™ per hectare, but he was unsure whether the existing structure on his family’s Katikati orchard would have the capacity to withhold this target weight. The risk of the structure collapsing and subsequent loss that would be incurred kept him awake at night.

To protect the structure and crop, Billy contacted Mike Posa, Key Account Manager at Ag-Steel. Together, they decided using the Ag-Triposts and Ag-Beam together would solve the problem. Billy ordered 2,000 Ag-Triposts, which were installed between the existing posts and Ag-Beam to reduce the bay size by half, relieving weight from the existing structure.

One year on, Billy says he is delighted with result.

“I’ve got a bigger crop this year, heading to 23,000 trays per hectare, and everything is holding very well,” he says.

“I’ve had a couple of end assemblies give way, but the extra support provided by the Tri-Posts and Agbeam we installed last year has allowed the canopy to stay up – there’s been no movement in the structure at all”, He adds.

Billy says it’s devastating if an orchard has a structure collapse, and with storms and stronger weather becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, he didn’t  want to be in that situation.

“We’re definitely very happy with our decision to go ahead invest in Ag-Steel. Recent visitors from the packhouse were stunned with our loading and how well it is holding.”

Mike Posa says load capacity is a common concern among kiwifruit growers nationwide.

“We see a lot of partially collapsed orchards, where the weight of the gold crop is just too great for the existing structures,” says Mike.

“These large bays just can’t hold the weight produced from a SunGold™ crop. The best solution is the approach Billy has taken; to add an Ag-Tripost between existing posts and run Ag-Beam which reduces the bay size by half, relieving weight from the existing structure.

“By understanding growers’ needs, we can make recommendations that will provide the best support needed, he says.

“You could say our customer service and product expertise is worth its weight in gold!”

Billy commented that when they had the 2000 Ag-Triposts to install, it was a little daunting. However, they found it was incredibly easy and did the work as a team, without any need for external contractors.

“I would have done our second orchard at the same time if I’d realised how easy it was. In fact, that’s this year’s project – it makes life a lot easier and is well worth the investment” says Billy.

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