16 Apr 2012

Weather puts pressure on apple harvest

1:48 pm on 16 April 2012

Apple growers are finding the harvest tough going this season due to adverse weather and smaller average apple sizes.

Pipfruit New Zealand's chairman Ian Palmer says wet and cool weather has lead to a later harvest, which must now be done in a shorter timeframe.

He says apples have been smaller too, which means more work for pickers to fill a bin.

He says New Zealand will still export about the same amount of apples as last year, 16 million cartons, but says this year's harvest has been more challenging.

Mr Palmer says the industry is also facing a shortage of pickers this year, particularly in Nelson which relies more heavily on backpackers than the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme workers.