A productive avocado orchard in the heart of Whangarei’s foremost avocado growing district has been placed on the market for sale – with capacity to increase its production scale by 20 percent.
The 14-hectare property at Poroti on the western outskirts of Whangarei sits in a volcanic soil valley which was once a dairy and beef farming strong-hold, but is now Northland’s most concentrated conglomeration of avocado orchards due to the location’s deep fertile volcanic soil base. It is surrounded by neighbouring properties also planted in commercial-scale avocado orchards.
The L-shaped orchard for sale at 232 Simons Road features 12 sheltered gently sloping contoured blocks planted with 1060 Hass on Zutano varietal avocado trees planted in 2004 in a north/south orientation.
Production records from the orchard over the past four seasons showing the orchard has harvested between 9,495 trays and 15,584 trays of crop. The 2020/21 harvest forecast is for the orchard to yield 15,100 trays of avocados.
Now the freehold orchard and supporting infrastructure and buildings at 232 Simons Road is being marketed for sale at auction on November 11 through Bayleys Whangarei. Salesperson and horticulture specialist Vinni Bhula said that at present, 10 hectares of the orchard was planted in avocados.
“There is a clear opportunity to further expand production and output from the orchard – with land currently used for cattle grazing ready for conversion into avocados,” said Bhula.
“Using the modern medium to high density model, new plantings could start producing commercial yields within 3-4 years from planting.
“Local and international demand for New Zealand-produced avocados shows no sign of easing. Fruit grown and picked at the Poroti orchard is transported to a commercial packhouse located some 14km from the property, which grades and packs fruit for both the domestic and export markets.”
Irrigation on the property is supplied from the Maungatapere Irrigation Scheme, which allows the orchard to draw some 3,096 cubic metres of water per annum - with water circulated across the crop via a sprinkler system. The Poroti area has an average annual rainfall of 1,500mm, with an average annual temperature of 15.7 degrees Celsius.
The 12 blocks are enclosed by natural tree sheltering consisting of mature radiata pine. Some of the site’s original shelterbelts have been removed to allow more sunlight onto the avocado trees. Well formed vehicle access lanes run between the planted rows – with dual access points off the main road.
“Being in such a concentrated avocado production location, adjoining properties around three boundaries of the Simons Road orchard have their own shelter belts -in effect combining to create substantial natural barriers against winds from most directions,” Bhula said.
Bhula said commercial buildings linked to the Simons Road property and orchard included:
- A 120-square metre three-bay shed used for picking bin and tree maintenance and crop harvesting machinery storage
- A twin roller-door shed used for additional machinery and equipment storage, in addition to agri’-chemical storage space
- A loading/unloading bay for trucks, along with now dormant cattle yards.
Accommodation on the property consists of a 265-squarre metre four-bedroom/ three-bathroom home with an office and parking for up to six vehicles. The home overlooks tiered landscaped lawns and gardens and is heated by wood-burning fireplace and two heat pumps.
A full inventory of horticultural equipment and machinery is included in the land and buildings sale of the Simons Road property.
“The size of this orchard would enable either an entry-level owner/operator to take up a position in New Zealand’s avocado production sector, or would allow an existing grower with experience to fulfill the opportunity of expanding the orchard size by developing the currently vacant land,” Bhula said.
New Zealand has some 1400 commercial avocado growers – with most production taking place north of the Bay of Plenty and delivering crop year-round, with the biggest volumes coming during the summer months. Government statistics show avocados are one of largest fresh fruit exports from New Zealand – ranking up alongside apples and kiwifruit.