Sarah Renwick, from Inverness, Scotland, works in the
apple-packing facility at Waipopo Orchards, near Timaru,
last week. Photo by Guy Williams
The apple harvest is in full swing in South Canterbury.
The region's largest grower, Waipopo Orchards, expects to top
900 tonnes this year - up from 400 tonnes last year.
Co-owner Peter Bennett said it was the height of the picking
season, and the company's packing facility was operating on
double shifts for at least the next fortnight.
The entire crop would be shipped to the United States, the
United Kingdom, continental Europe and Asia. About
three-quarters would leave through the Port of Timaru and the
rest from Port Chalmers.
Picking began at the start of last month and would continue
until the end of next month, Mr Bennett said.
The apples were picked from the company's orchards and
investment blocks from Seadown to Makikihi, covering a total
of about 120ha. The area planted had increased from 80ha last
year, and another 40ha would be planted in apples this
A shortage of apples worldwide was pushing up prices but that
was being partly offset by a higher currency exchange rate,
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said ideal
growing conditions throughout most of the country had
resulted in large, firm fruit with excellent taste.
However, the national crop was expected to be slightly
smaller than last year's record 550,000 tonnes harvested and
325,000 tonnes exported.
''The big difference between 2013 and 2014 is the size.
''This year's fruit size will be bigger than the past few
seasons, and this will be a point of difference for the New
The New Zealand apple industry produced 62.9 tonnes a hectare
last year, compared with the next highest national average of
41.3 tonnes a ha in Chile.
''New Zealand is without doubt the best place in the world to
grow apples,'' Mr Pollard said.
''Our island climate keeps summers not too hot and winters
not too cold, perfect for apples.''
- by Guy Williams