14 Dec 2010

Lighter apricot crop in Central Otago

6:45 pm on 14 December 2010

Some Central Otago fruitgrowers are reporting significantly lighter apricot crops this season.

The spring storms which killed thousands of newborn lambs in Southland also produced one of the longest frosts on orchards, especially in Central Otago.

Summerfruit New Zealand chair, Roxburgh orchardist Gary Bennetts, says most growers in the area had their frost-fighting sprinklers on for 12 hours overnight to protect fruit blossoms on their trees.

He says this severely affected pollination which has meant less fruit, and in his case, a 70% drop in crop volume.

Mr Bennetts says growers in Central Otago will begin harvesting some early varieties of apricots later in December.