NZ apple forecast defies recent biennial bearing history -

NZ apple forecast defies recent biennial bearing history

Top Stories
NZ apple forecast defies recent biennial bearing history

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven has labeled the country's forecast crop of 300,000 metric tons (MT) for 2012 as 'unusual', given the significant production swings of recent years.

The 2012 estimate, which equates to 16.6 million cartons, is only slightly down on last year's figure of 302,000MT.

A Pipfruit NZ release highlighted a shift away from Royal Gala and Braeburn apples, which currently make up 55% of the nation's volume.

It is forecast that Jazz apples will top two million cartons for the first time, making up 12% of volumes, while other contributors will be Fuji (1.7 million cartons) and Pink Lady with 830,000 cartons.

The organization expects 5.7 million cartons of Royal Gala apples and a 24% drop in the Braeburn crop to 3.3 million cartons.

"The predicted low crop for Braeburn is a response from growers who have struggled for years to obtain sustainable returns from Europe," says Beaven.

"Tree removals and growing for process instead of export have resulted in the Braeburn crop, a signature NZ variety, shrinking from a high of eight million cartons exported only six years ago.

"The late winter cold spell delayed flowering by up to two weeks with the result that the main Royal Gala harvest will not commence until late February."

The release said exporters have been receiving enquiry for apple and pear supply from all markets, especially in Asia where there has been good growth in demand, but also in the conventional markets of the U.S. and the E.U.

"New Zealand’s reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality, highly coloured, safe apples and pears enables us to command premium prices in all markets," says Beaven.

With the Australian market now open for the whole of the season, it is expected 10 packhouses will be able to pass the stringent audits needed to ship to New Zealand's trans-Tasman neighbor.

Subscribe to our newsletter