Richard Mills, Summerfruit NZ Market Support
Enough of the rain and overcast conditions thanks very much. The rainfall totals seem to have varied around the district with the coastal areas coping a bit more; there were lingering puddles out near Red Bridge that were not so visible further inland. There has been hail damage in the early areas but I don’t think it will impact on the overall amount of fruit for sale to much. Not nice for those that are dealing with it but OK for the overall production. As the harvest gets under way this week and next, we will see how good the brown rot control was.
Now we need some good temperatures and sunshine to harden the exterior of the fruit and get the sugar levels up.
Growing degree days in Bay View, for example are pretty good, better than average in fact. There has been 345 units accumulated (as of November 8) but this is behind last seasons exceptional accumulation. This is confirmed by growers suggesting that harvest will be 5-7 days behind last season. The stations that we access are a little above or a little below average, nothing to different to the five-year average.
|GDD (1 Sept to Nov 8)
The table above is a good illustration of why Bay View grows the early fruit. For cherry growers the Marlborough comparison of GDD is 207 from trees that flowered at the same time as Hawke’s Bay -excluding Bay View.
To add to the bit of hail damage there is a few blocks no longer in the ground, across peach, nectarine and plum. Especially plums. Apricots seem relatively stable in area and there will be a few more cherry blocks producing fruit.
Crop loads on cherries might be lower than growers had hoped, at least a bit patchy. Apricots seem to be pretty much there or there abouts, as do peach and nectarine. Hand thinning in a number of cases has been quick which all bodes well for size and possibly quality. The reports on labour availability to date have mostly been adequate, but not oversupplied.
Some Take Home Thoughts
- There should be enough fruit to supply the market, but not at levels that are over the top. Size has the potential to be good.
- Marlborough local market cherries also have moderate crop loads, with similar bloom and GDD could be in the market at the same time as Heretaunga Plains crops.
- Plum supply and demand will be more closely matched than the previous two years.
- Labour is OK at this stage, lets see what happens as the season progresses.
- Ideally the non-supermarket retailers in Auckland will be up and selling as this is where a part of the Hawke’s Bay crop is sold, as well as taking a good portion of the Tag2 supply.
- Central Otago at this stage seems to be telling a similar story to Hawke’s Bay but it is still very early days. I have picked up a couple of comments suggesting that summer has well and truly arrived. We shall see.