Zespri says early export sales of kiwifruit have been excellent.
A spokeswoman said sales to date had been strong, with the record taste levels for the fruit getting the thumbs up from customers.
This was encouraging for growers, although it was too early to talk with certainty about final returns. The marketer is halfway through its shipping programme.
Crop estimates for the season were still being finalised, but haywood volumes - almost 80 per cent of the total crop this year - would be either around or slightly below the 70 million trays packed last year, she said.
Gold volumes would be down to 12 to 13m trays from 24.6m last year, as a result of the impact of Psa-V and the switchover to the more tolerant gold3 variety.
The dry summer in the North Island had meant fruit size was slightly smaller than 2012, but it had been a vintage year for taste.
Earlier, Zespri warned that foreign exchange rates would continue to affect returns, but that this would be partly offset by a reduction in packing costs.
- Fairfax Media