15 Mar 2023

Apple crops likely fifth smaller this season due to Cyclone Gabrielle damage

12:37 pm on 15 March 2023
A flooded Hawke's Bay orchard after Cyclone Gabrielle.

A flooded Hawke's Bay orchard after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: Supplied / Catherine Wedd

A flooded Hawke's Bay orchard after Cyclone Gabrielle.

The apple industry estimates this season's crop will be a fifth smaller than initially forecast due to the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Industry group Apples and Pears said it still had some assessments to do in Tai Rāwhiti, but in Hawke's Bay it was estimated about 33 percent of fruit had been affected.

Chair Richard Punter said as a result it now expected this year's national crop to be down 21 percent - or about 16.1 million apple cartons fewer - than its January forecast.

"On the East Coast, there is a clear distinction between blocks that have been significantly and severely affected by the storm, and blocks that are untouched.

"For unaffected blocks, the remaining crop harvest is well underway, and conditions for the remaining harvest period look good," Punter said.

Punter said it was reassuring international buyers that only top quality fruit would make the cut for export markets.

"Exporters will provide a premium product to the market by ensuring only the best quality apples and pears are placed in the carton, as they do every year."

While it had been a tough season for many North Island orchardists, those in central Otago and Nelson-Tasman had experienced good growing and harvesting conditions, he said.

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