Apple grower morale in the Tasman and Nelson regions of the South Island is at its lowest in years, with the prospect of another year of low returns.
The of Pipfruit New Zealand chair Ian Palmer, who is also an Upper Moutere orchardist in Tasman, says returns for some growers are likely to be below the cost of production, for the third time in the past five years.
He says the Tasman and Nelson regions produce most of the traditional varieties for the European market, like Braeburn and Jazz.
He says growers are trying to hang in there, but it's more challenging this year.
Mr Palmer says the Tasman and Nelson regions need to look at adding another apple variety to what is currently grown there to improve the situation.