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Apple and pear crop well up

NEW Zealand's apple and pear crop has been predicted to reach 600,000 tonnes this year, a 5 percent rise from 2019, and Gisborne fruit will play a part in that growth.

The country's export volume has been forecast to be up 3 percent on last year, with 22.7 million 18kg boxes destined for customers in more than 80 countries.

Apple plantings nationally have increased annually by 2 to 4 percent for the past six seasons.

Apple tree plantings in Gisborne jumped 8 percent in the past 12 months, on 295 hectares of land.

The other area showing significant growth, Hawke's Bay, had new plantings amounting to 267ha.

Total registered plantings in New Zealand have now reached 10,396ha.

“To put the forecast crop of 600,000 tonnes in perspective, if the apples and pears were placed side by side, they would circle the equator six times,” said New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard.

“Notable in this year's forecast is the continued trend away from some of the more traditional varieties.

“We lead the world in the development of new varieties and in the past 12 months we have seen increased plantings of Pink Lady™, Dazzle™, Jazz™ and Rockit™.

“The Braeburn export crop is expected to be 19 percent down on last year and 30 percent (approximately one million 18kg boxes) down from 2018,” Mr Pollard said.

“The positive forecast is pleasing, especially given the localised hail events experienced during the growing season.

“The spring weather in the main regions was very good and there is potential for larger fruit with great eating attributes,” he said.

“We had a good blossom, a high fruit set and excellent early fruit colour development. All of this indicates a high-quality season for NZ apples and pears.”

Apples and Pears NZ CE Alan Pollard