A report released by the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) has forecast New Zealand’s apple and pear industry to make a “material recovery” during 2017/18, with production and exports set to rise.
Overall topfruit production is set to increase by 6 per cent to a forecast 586,000 tonnes, with exports climbing 12 per cent to 380,150 tonnes, the USDA noted.
Post estimates 2016/2017 apple plantings at 9,600 hectares (ha), which is 4.3 percent greater than 2015/2016. For 2017/2018 this is expected to grow to 9,825ha. Trend expansion is for 250-300ha growth of new plantings each year together with a significant replanting program of existing orchards.
By 2020, New Zealand’s apple area is still on course to reach between 10,500 ha to 11,000 ha. The last five to six year trend for cultivar plantings of high color Royal Gala sports, new Fuji varieties, Pacific Queen, and Envy is expected to continue. In addition the “Other Varieties”, which contains essentially
new cultivars that only have minor acreages at present, has gone from 4 percent of the area 10 years ago to now make up 10 percent. It is an indication of the diversity of plantings now occurring and the trend toward plantings of Intellectual Property protected varieties such as Rockit and Honeycrisp
The area for pear plantings seems to have stabilized at present. Planted area for 2016/17 is now estimated at 400 ha, 4.8 percent less than 2015/16. The estimated harvest area is now 371 ha, 8 percent less than 2015/2016. For 2017/2018 it is forecast the planted area will be stable at 400ha and the harvested area will be up a few hectares at 375ha. The downward trend in pear plantings noticeable since 2011 is caused by the better relative returns per hectare from growing apples