Hail damage to New Zealand kiwi production limited
During early November, three kiwifruit-growing regions in New Zealand were struck by hail, Although it was feared that the hail may have adversely affected the kiwifruit growing season, the damage to the country’s largest horticultural export should be limited, according to Oliver Broad of Zespri.
“We expect the loss to be less than 1%, so not a significant loss of the total crop. According to many growers, hail at this time of year is unusual, so it did come as a surprise. For green kiwifruit in particular we are pre-fruit set, so we don’t have fruit on the vine yet, so where there has been an impact it is due to buds being knocked off, or damage to the leaf cover.
“The two main regions affected were Nelson and the Bay of Plenty, in the Tauranga and Welcome Bay areas. We’ve had notifications from growers that 110 orchards were affected by the hail damage. Whilst this can be significant for the individuals, we don’t expect significant impact on a national scale. The hail insurance scheme we have for Zespri has however kicked into place for our growers and we are working through that now.
“The rest of the season so far has been good, and we are looking forward to a December estimate, which will give us a more accurate forecast of production volumes. In the large scheme of things, as a company, we are expecting to increase our production this year, and to continue to do so with significant volumes over the next few years, especially with Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit.
“The total supply from Zespri during 2014 was over 90 million trays of kiwifruit, and the outlook for this season is to the tune of 100 million trays, with strong increases in volume over the coming years.
The main driver of our volume growth is the increase in supply of gold kiwifruit, which will reach around 30 million trays in 2015 and over 50 million trays by 2018.”