New Zealand's apple and pear crop is “significantly down” on pre-season estimates, according to peak industry body Pipfruit New Zealand (PNZ).
Initial forecasts put the 2017 crop at around 590,000 tonnes, of which 384,000 tonnes were to be exported. The estimate would have seen the industry surpass the previous record harvest of 560,000 tonnes achieved in 2004.
With harvests drawing to a close in most growing regions, PNZ chief executive Alan Pollard said the national crop would not reach its projected heights.
“The impact of a number of factors could result in our gross crop being as much as 10 per cent below forecast, with later varieties including Braeburn most affected,” Pollard explained.
The industry is expected to look at the way it formulates its crop estimates ahead of the 2018 campaign.
“Some of our forecast assumptions have not supported the volumes anticipated in January,” Pollard added. “Once the season is over we will review those to ensure a more accurate forecast for next season”.
While the shorter than anticipated crop could see export volumes fall below those achieved last year, Pollard said the New Zealand pipfruit industry remained confident of generating NZ$1bn in export revenue ahead of 2022.
“It is likely that in some of our key markets, such as Europe and the UK, volumes will be at or below those achieved last season,” Pollard said. “While the lower export volume is disappointing, consumers can still expect to experience the unique taste and quality that New Zealand apples and pears are renowned for.”