16 Mar 2012

Cooler weather affects apple harvests

2:00 pm on 16 March 2012

Pipfruit New Zealand says cooler weather in Hawke's Bay has helped produce the best-coloured apples in the region for 20 years.

Local packhouses expect to handle just over 10 million cartons of export quality apples, which is 61% of the national crop.

Pipfruit New Zealand services manager Gary Jones says with the industry focusing more on markets in Asia, producing well coloured, red apples is very important.

Mr Jones says most growers in Hawke's Bay should be finished picking Royal Gala by Sunday and Jazz will be the next variety harvested.

Cooler than normal summer conditions have also made their mark in Nelson apple orchards.

Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer says the harvest is a bit later and apples are smaller, although there's nothing wrong with the eating quality of the fruit.

He says the export volume is likely to drop.