Fruit size is good in most of New Zealand’s production areas thanks to favourable weather conditions leading up to the 2017/2018 harvest. Total pip fruit production is estimated to be up 7% to 574,200 tons. Besides the good growing conditions, the boost in volumes is also due to a 3% larger harvest area and existing orchards being converted to new, more productive apple varieties. Thanks to the good production season, total pip fruit exports are expected to be 8% higher than in 2016/17 at 377,650 tons. A further result of the good season is expected to be seen in a boost in domestic consumption, which is expected to rise to 83,550 tons, while fruit for processing is estimated to increase to 116,800 tons.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 2016/2017 campaign was a profitable one for New Zealand’s apple and pear farmers and this trend is expected to continue into 2017/2018. This performance is generating confidence in the sector and a willingness to invest further. Indeed, the planted area in 2017/18 is estimated at 9,825 ha, with 9,400 ha being harvested. Orchard areas are expanding at a rate of 250-400 ha each year, up from 250-300 ha. This data is not exact data as producers do not have to register new plantings until they are ready to be harvested. In addition, growers are converting over 10% of their existing planted area to more productive and popular varieties. It is estimated that 40-50% of the planted area now consists of Intellectual Property protected varieties such as Envy, Rockit or Honeycrisp.