While 3.5 million trays nationally are forecast for the upcoming avocado harvest in August – up 1.3 million trays from the 2017 crop – some growers around the Katikati area might not have the amount of fruit they’d like in what will be a big-volume year.
Overnight winds that whipped through the Western Bay of Plenty on April 12 saw some growers lose between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of their crop. But how widespread the damage is has been hard to put a number on.
Kauripak director Hugh Moore says he knows of orchards around the interface of Katikati township as well as up Busby, Willoughby, and Woodland roads through to Lund Rd, which have suffered damage and fruit-loss.
“Some growers are saying they’ve lost 30 per cent; some have only lost a little. Kauri Point-way seems to have been spared mostly.
“Certainly in some orchards that are exposed to wind there was a carpet of fruit underneath some of the trees.
Hugh says the only thing growers could do was mulch up with fruit underneath the trees – as it wouldn’t ripen.
“You’ll find in most orchards it is probably 10 per cent or less of fruit-loss experienced, but then some individuals will have fared worse.
“But it is hard to calculate fruit-loss sometimes, because you have to know exactly how much fruit was on the trees before you count what’s on the ground.
“And it always looks worse than what it is – but some people could quite easily lose up to 15 per cent of their crop in cases like this.”
Hugh says strong winds during Autumn is not uncommon. “We often got some in June-July but we’ve had them in April before.”
Avocado grower Lawrie Donald, off Sharp Rd, also lost fruit from the wind in mid-April.
“Most growers who would have been affected around here, I would say, would have lost anywhere from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of fruit. And that can be a decent chuck of your income for the year.”