How it all started
A long time ago on a commercial orchard far, far away…
Chris came to growing by establishing a commercial citrus orchard on the outskirts of Auckland in 1984. Within a season, the orchard was run under organic certification and in the early 90s made the first export of certified mandarins to Japan.
After approximately 10 years of organic certification, the orchard was de-certified due to un-economic yields, principally caused by an inability to provide the citrus adequate nitrogen under organic standards. However in the later seasons of organic production, the orchard consistently produced a crop of high cosmetic appearance; this was mostly as a result of two insecticidal and fungicidal products that he developed - later registered as Pyrethrum Plus and Protectorhml.
In 2003, Henry Manufacturing Limited was established to commercialise the products. Protectorhml became fully registered for botrytis control on grapes, after seven years of credible independent research.
In the early 2000s, Chris moved to Hawke’s Bay to work as a machine operator for Villa Maria Estate at their Joseph Soler vineyard. The vineyard was a mix of both organic and chemical regimes. It was here that he learnt much of what he knows of grape growing today.
Villa Maria gave Chris the opportunity to trial and research Protectorhml within their vineyards. Their support allowed Chris to obtain data which proved its ability as an adjuvant to greatly improve efficacy of Sulphur against powdery mildew and erinose mite. Protectorhml is mainly used as an adjuvant for sulphur in New Zealand vineyards today. Villa Maria continue to provide support which allows robust research to be undertaken within their vineyards.
Chris’s last days of actual growing involved managing the neighbouring 15ha Murdoch Wine vineyard on the Gimblett Gravels which he took through conversion to full BioGro certification.
Formulation, trialling and research remain Chris’s passion. The latest product, HML32, arose as result of a season of trialling Protector with potassium bicarbonate, followed by three seasons of trialling and collaboration with growers and scientists from New Zealand and overseas.
There are further projects under way.