Early signs point to a large New Zealand kiwifruit crop

Close to ideal growing conditions for New Zealand kiwifruit could result in a bumper crop once the harvest begins in April. While different growers will have different experiences, the hot summer weather should see large volumes of both green and gold kiwifruit this year, according to Zespri chief grower and alliances officer Dave Courtney. "The reports we are getting is that the crops look really good this year, they are growing well and there are good numbers of fruit out there as well."

Total volumes could be more than the record-breaking crop of 2016, although Courtney said this years' crop had a greater number of maturing vines that produced more fruit than two years ago.

"We are going to be closer to the 2016 numbers than the 2017 numbers. We are having better yields this year with our green and all of that gold kiwifruit that has been planted, more and more of it comes into production every year."

He told stuff.co.nz they would have a clearer idea of how this year's crop was shaping up in about a month. It is too early to say when harvesting will begin this year, although it traditionally starts in mid-April. Courtney has backed the findings of a new report from ANZ that outlined investment opportunities within the industry. The ANZ Kiwifruit Insights paper showed strong global demand, coupled with Zespri's ambition to grow global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025, had driven demand for kiwifruit orchards which were selling at record prices.

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