10 Jul 2014

Storm smashes avocado orchards

1:44 pm on 10 July 2014

Some avocado orchards in Northland have been smashed by this week's storm - trees are down and significant volumes of the current crop will be a write-off.

Sue Culham has 6 hectares of avocado trees on her orchard near Whangarei, and while she's still assessing the damage that's been done - she estimates 15 percent of her fruit is on the ground.

Ms Culham is a regional grower representative and said she's heard reports that some orchards appear to have escaped large-scale damage - while on others up to 50 trees have been toppled.

She said the avocados on the ground are wind damaged and cannot be sold or consumed.

"But its the ongoing damage that we're not sure of, you can look a month out and the stems will be damaged on the fruit, the fruit itself will be damaged, the trees will probably drop the fruit because they've had a lot of damage to their roots."

On her own orchard, she said this week's storm has been worse than the last big one in 2007.

A Kerikeri fruit grower and chairman of New Zealand Citrus Growers Rick Curtis says the storm brought the worst conditions he can remember in the region.

However, he said in terms of the citrus industry the storm probably couldn't have come at a better time - as all the fruit has been harvested and is off the trees.