23 May 2012

Braeburn apple harvest well down

12:48 pm on 23 May 2012

Pipfruit New Zealand has confirmed a big drop in this season's Braeburn apple harvest.

The most recent crop forecast, completed this week shows that this year's Braeburn export crop will be fewer than three million cases.

That's a drop of 27% on last year's harvest.

Pipfruit NZ chief executive Alan Pollard says it's due to a combination of a cooler summer producing smaller fruit, as well as growers reacting to the high New Zealand dollar by selling their crop for processing, rather than supplying the export market.

Braeburn was once New Zealand's main export apple variety. Eight million cartons were exported in 2005.

But growers returns for their Braeburn crop have been below the cost of production, for the past few seasons.