Apple growers dodge worst of drought

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 16:54 07/03/2013

Relevant offers

Farming

Westland Milk Products lowers payout Strong demand for good farm dogs DairyNZ predicts $250,000 deficit for average dairy farm Quotable Value forecasts possible decline in farm values Why faking your CV is a popular pastime Buzz of excitement around honey's potential Mid Canterbury farmland sold to foreign-owned Craigmore Farming John Kirwan tells farmers to keep life simple, fun Martin Van Beynen: A man and his pig, give me a break Ravensdown moves into new office

Apple growers look set to escape the drought's ravages and enjoy a bumper season, as the harvest gets under way.

Harvesting began in mid-February and the fine weather has led to a larger and tastier crop. Forecasts for the export crop are 16.9 million cartons, up 6 per cent on last year.

"I think we're going to get a pretty good quality crop with this weather ... and also reasonably good from a market perspective as well," said Peter Silcock, chief executive of Horticulture NZ.

Other factors on the side of apple exporters this season include a global shortage of apples which should keep apple prices firm, and greater demand for Kiwi apples in Asia and the Middle East.

Luckiest of all is that growers appear likely to dodge the worst of the drought.

About 60 per cent of the export crop comes from Hawke's Bay, which has just been declared a drought zone.

But Silcock said council restrictions on irrigation have only just started to come in.

Most growers had access to irrigation water, and while restrictions might affect crops going forward, they would not affect mature trees.

"Impacts of the drought might be on next season's crop and there's always a percentage of the industry and probably a bit more at this time changing varieties. So if you've got new young trees, water's quite critical for them."

Ad Feedback

- BusinessDay.co.nz

Special offers
Opinion poll

Is it time for authorities to introduce tougher penalties for poaching?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: Booby traps for poachers cost farmers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Agri e-editions

Digital editions

Read our rural publications online