Skip to main content

The Avocado Industry Council is predicting an export crop of 1.78 millions trays this season, 300,000 less trays than predicted before the storms, according to the Bay of Plenty Times.

Council chief executive Alan Thorne was quoted in the paper saying most of the losses would be among Bay of Plenty growers, with those in Northland escaping relatively unaffected by the week of rain and high winds which began on September 17.

“We are estimating a total crop of three million trays, with 1.78 million for export and 1.22 for local market, reducing our previous estimates by 300,000 trays,” he said.

Although it was too soon to say what impact wind damage would have on flowering, experiences from trees damaged in a similar storm in Northland three years ago showed that most trees recovered to set a good crop.

“We will be working with affected growers to advise them on storm recovery management for their orchards,” Thorne said.

Some Bay of Plenty growers would receive little or no income from their orchards after almost a week of high winds which stripped fruit from trees and felled others.

Thorne said some growers could be feeling quite traumatised by the storm, which was so bad at times that it was too dangerous to venture out to survey the damage.

When the winds eased, many growers were greeted by the sight of hundreds of fruit on the ground and the prospect of little of no income for another 12 months.

“Unfortunately, there is no Government or financial assistance for these growers but as an industry we are investigating what can be done to help in other ways,” said Thorne.

Some of the fruit could be suitable for processing for oil but Mr Thorne is urging growers not to be tempted to sell windfall fruit on the local market which would “do nothing for the industry’s image”.

It was the height of the trees, some as tall as shelter belts, and the turbulence caused by the extremely strong winds which had led to so much damage on some orchards, while other orchards, or individual trees, remained almost untouched.

Given the strong gusts and the terrain of the region, with ridges and gullies, it was almost inevitable there would be damage, Thorne said.

“It’s the turbulence which does the damage, tumbling and spinning over the ‘leading edge’ of the orchard shelter belt or outer trees – similar to the wing of a plane – and effecting trees sometimes several metres into the orchard.”

The crop this season wasn’t expected to be a big one with the biennial bearing trees described as having an “off year”.

The concern now was that flowers forming for next year’s hopefully larger crop would escape undamaged.

Thorne said the Avocado Industry Council had held a series of field days focusing on pruning as a means affecting the trees’ tendency to biennial bearing and some of those techniques could help reduce their susceptibility to future wind damage.

Brian Richardson of Avocado Oil New Zealand, of Te Puna, said the company would buy windfalls for processing but that fruit could not be split or have skin damage.

“Unfortunately, at this time of in the season the fruit has very little oil content – only about 6% compared with up to 17% in April.”

Avocado Oil, which markets it products under the brand name The Grove, had recently taken part in trade shows in Australia and had established links which could lead to an increase in customers. –

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

Dishing

Dishing up export possibilities

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012
minefield

What’s mine is not yours

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012
25-countries

25 countries… and counting

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012