14 May 2013

Kiwifruit harvest forecast well down

2:28 pm on 14 May 2013

Latest kiwifruit harvest forecasts show the PSA bacterial disease is having a big impact on the industry.

Half way through the harvest, just four million trays of Hort 16A gold kiwifruit have been picked. Last year, Zespri sold 24 million trays of the traditional gold kiwifruit variety and 29 million trays the season before.

The president of Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (KGI) says many growers have abandoned the variety, which is susceptible to PSA, and planted the new Gold 3 vines instead.

Neil Trebilco says 2000 hectares of Gold 3 went in last season, and production is always lower following a new planting.

This season the industry expects to get between two and three million trays of Gold 3 fruit.

PSA is also taking its toll on the green Hayward variety - the mainstay of the industry.

Early season estimates suggested the green kiwifruit crop would be about 73 million trays. But with more than a quarter picked, KGI forecasts suggest the harvest will dip below 70 million trays, which would be the smallest crop in more than five years.

Mr Trebilco says PSA is not the only factor; smaller fruit size due to the drought has also reduced tray numbers.