Many New Zealander’s took up the chance of employment in the horticulture sector during Covid-19, and whilst harvest has finished, the focus for all three sectors has shifted to winter pruning, and securing enough labour to support this booming industry.
A round-up of what’s been happening in Hawke’s Bay over the past month.
Harvest in Hawkes Bay was all wrapped up by late May when the last of the green orchards were picked. Overall, both the green and the gold crop in Hawkes Bay is expected to be down in volume from last year.
At the national level, the green crop is also expected to be smaller than last season, largely due to smaller fruit size and poor class1 packout in some regions where the drought had significant impact on fruit quality. The impact of drought conditions on gold fruit was much less severe generally speaking, and Zespri are now marketing their biggest ever volume of SunGold, as was expected with more gold orchards coming into production.
Gold3 (SunGold) sales remain strong in key markets but are a little slow in smaller, developing markets. Early green fruit is now in the markets and is also selling well although the smaller size profile is expected to create some challenges for Zespri later in the season.
Growers who bid for Gold3 licence in May will now know if their bid successful with results released on the 4th June. The median price for successful Gold3 bids this year was just over $400,000 per hectare compared to $290,000 last season. Licence for organic Gold3 increased from $153,000 last year to just over $219,000, whilst the median value of successful Zespri Red bids was just $62,500 per hectare. The lower value of the Zespri Red licence reflects the uncertainty regarding how well this variety will perform relative to Gold3 which performs so well, both in the orchard and through the supply chain.
Growers impacted by the drastic reduction in Kiwistart payments this season (especially those who harvested fruit in weeks 11 & 12) are encouraged to make contact if they wish to participate in discussions between Zespri and affected growers later this month.
The good weather conditions continue in Hawke’s Bay and Summerfruit growers are progressing well with their pruning, now ahead of this time last year. Like other sectors, the challenge for growers is to help RSE teams reunite with their families. Industry organisations and government departments are presently working together and channelling a lot of energy into making this happen.
The Summerfruit NZ AGM will be held on 15 July 2020 via Zoom. If you have an item of concern to discuss at the AGM, please submit this by close of business today.
Towards the end of 2019 Summerfruit NZ announced they would conduct an independent industry review. The aim was to gather information from mainly Summerfruit levy payers to enable the organisation to design/redefine that it will remain fit for purpose going forward. Following a delay over the Covid-19 lockdown period, the review is nearly complete and the report will be released to the industry in due course.
We hope to see lots of winter chill units over the next couple of months of dormancy to ensure that our trees have enough to wake up happy in the spring.
Harvest is now a distance memory and winter pruning is now under way.
With the country moving through the COVID 19 levels, daily life is starting to move back into more of a normal rhythm. This is making things easier for businesses to return and offer services again around the district.
There has been a bit of rain falling lately and a slight hint of green returning to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay landscape. Some tree removal has been happening over the district with growers looking forward and redeveloping land. Post-Harvest spraying is also on the agenda to combat any disease pressure going into winter.