“Though I started working in the SA avocado industry in 1992, I started working as an avocado consultant in NZ when we immigrated here in 2002. This is when I started working with Hill Laboratories and 18 years on, I am still earning my living as a consultant to avocado growers and still working with Hill Laboratories. Reputation, reliability and scientific credibility are key in this business and this is why I stick with Hills.
Hills do all my leaf and soil testing for around 80 avocado grower clients, and as the results come in, an assessment is made and conclusions are drawn on:
- (a) How effective the previous season’s nutritional strategy was and
- (b) What can be done better from a plant nutrition perspective during the season ahead.
- Growers spend around $1500-$2000 per hectare on fertiliser alone
- A well-managed orchard should net (after all costs) upwards of $30,000 per hectare, per annum.
- Orchards are worth upwards of $300,000 per hectare
So there is a lot at stake and, like any professional agri-business, healthy profits are underpinned by good science. Aside from the routine analytical work that informs plant nutrition, I also rely on Hill Laboratories to use their ‘data skills’ which I don’t have to point out trends and patterns. Their new app has saved me a heap of time as I don’t need to fill out forms any more. Finally one of the things I appreciate most is their low staff turnover; this always says a lot about the culture of a business and I have dealt with Fiona Calvert now since I started working with Hills. She (and the team around her) has always been professional, reliable and helpful.
Whenever I take on a new client I insist that all their leaf and soil sampling is done at Hill’s only because I know a crucially important part of my annual Orchard Recommendation is in good hands.”
-Jerome Hardy, Consultant to Avocado Growers, AvoGro Limited