ISSAQUAH, WA – The total production of New Zealand apples and pears this season is estimated to be approximately 21- 22 million cartons. The exportable crop is expected to be 19.5 million cartons.
There were 3 significant factors that led to the estimated volumes of New Zealand apples and pears this season:
Despite favorable weather in most New Zealand growing regions, hailstorms wreaked havoc on the South Island this season. Some growers located in the South Island’s Nelson area lost 70-90% of their fruit from hail damage. The hail damage was very specific to the Nelson area. In other growing regions of New Zealand, the good weather supported positive growing conditions for the fruit and brought beautiful color.
Vanguard is monitoring how the labor challenges will impact the ongoing harvest and overall volumes, and volumes specific to every variety.
Vessel availability is also adding to the challenges. Shipping lines are informing New Zealand packers that they are suspending service to specific destinations given the complexities of making even close to timely ETA’s. An example would be that OOCL has informed the New Zealand industry this week that they will not take anymore bookings for Europe, and NYK has cancelled bookings and all routes to Asia and Russia.
Growers continue to harvest and pack early varieties in New Zealand, mainly Gala and in smaller numbers Early Fuji and Beauty.
Complexities related to weather, labor, and shipping will be key variables to stay alert to throughout the season.