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New Zealand 2019 Apple and Pear Crop Forecast Released

The New Zealand apple and pear industry is forecasting a modest increase in the gross crop for 2019, according to the annual crop estimate just released. A forecast gross crop of 604,500 metric tonnes is 2.5% up on 2018 production.

New Zealand Apples & Pears Chief Executive, Alan Pollard, says that “Notwithstanding some hail in Central Otago, growing conditions across the rest of New Zealand this season have been very good. Adequate rainfall means that all regions have good quantities of irrigation water, and sunlight and warmth are at some of the best levels that we have seen”.

Pollard says that the result of the good growing season can be seen in fruit quality. “What is most notable about this year’s crop is the exceptional quality of the fruit. Consumers can expect to receive the high-quality apples and pears that New Zealand is renowned for”.

A key to the success of the New Zealand apple and pear industry is the continued diversification of varieties available world-wide. “The broad portfolio of varieties that we offer has changed dramatically since the mid-2000’s, when Royal Gala and Braeburn accounted for almost 80% of New Zealand exports. Today, Royal Gala remains our largest export variety accounting for around 30% of total exports. But varieties such as Braeburn continue to decline, with that particular variety’s planted area down 7% over 2018 and expected export volumes down 8% for 2019”.

The industry expects average fruit size to be smaller than 2018, with the season running around 5 to 7 days later than 2018 in Hawkes Bay and about the same timing 2018 in Nelson.

The area planted in apples and pears continues to increase at about 3% to 4% per annum and is now at 10,189 hectares.

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