Summer not so fruitful for growers

Central Otago’s export apricot crop is down on last year's.
Central Otago’s export apricot crop is down on last year's.
Central Otago’s export apricot crop has been confirmed as 20% down on last year due to a cooler spring and summer rain.

Summerfruit New Zealand chief executive officer Marie Dawkins said 830 tonnes of apricots were exported from New Zealand during summer, down from 1052 tonnes the summer before.

Central Otago provides all the nation’s export apricots.

Ettrick orchardist and former Summerfruit chairman Gary Bennetts said the lower yield was because of a cooler spring and January rain throughout Central Otago.

When asked how orchardists would cope with a 20% drop in exports he said ‘‘you put away your chequebook’’.

It was thought the apple harvest could also be smaller than usual this year, again because of a cooler spring and apple trees missing out ‘‘on the warmth in January’’.

National exports of nectarines, peaches and plums were also down. There were 8.8 tonnes of nectarines exported during the 2016-17 summer (11.8 last summer); 25 tonnes of peaches (76); and 54 tonnes of plums (60.4).

 - pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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