Hail storms rattle New Zealand apple growers - FreshFruitPortal.com

Hail storms rattle New Zealand apple growers

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Hail storms rattle New Zealand apple growers

Apple growers in parts of New Zealand have suffered extensive hail damage, website www.stuff.co.nz reported on Thursday.

In some of the allegedly worst hail storms in years, growers in Nelson, including the coast and parts of the Waimea Plains, have reported extensive to total loss of crops.

Jim Thawley of Mahana’s Thawley Orchard Company relunctantly spoke on the devastating effects of the storm.

"What's been hit has been destroyed. There is nothing we can recover," he told www.stuff.co.nz.

He reportedly lost almost all of the fruit along a 130-hectare strip, about half of his total crop. Thawley hoped some fruit could be salvaged for juicing.

Neighboring farmer Brian Fenwick told www.stuff.co.nz that about 65% of his fruit on his 20-hectare orchard was damaged. The loss has made picking for export uneconomic and forced Fenwick to lay off part of his thinning staff.

After several hail-free seasons, many farmers reportedly cut out insurance for their orchards, magnifying the week’s damage.

According to New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries, Nelson is a top apple producing region, typically accounting for about 30% of the country's apple and pear production. For a standard season, overall apple and pear export volumes fall between 250,000 and 300,000 tons (MT).

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard told www.freshfruitportal.com the full extent of the damages in Nelson was still being assessed.

"It is apparent that some orchards have been significantly affected, but damage does not appear to be widespread across the whole Nelson region," he said.

"Until assessments are complete, we will not know the likely impact on the regional crop expectations for this coming season."


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