Hawke’s Bay’s apple orchards are experiencing some of the best blossoms on record setting New Zealand up for a bumper apple crop.
New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower BOSTOCK New Zealand says the hot, sunny weather this season has provided the perfect conditions for pollination.
BOSTOCK New Zealand Orchard Manager, Fulton Gillies says the weather conditions have been outstanding.
“We have been averaging over 20 degrees each day, so the bees have been out working hard, pollinating our orchards. It’s been perfect to set us up for both a high quality and high yielding crop.”
A cold, dry winter has also been good for the apple orchards.
“We had a lot of winter chilling which means we have a tighter bloom and strong bud breaks which is ideal for the fruit coming on.”
The 2016 season was forecast to be an off season with less apples predicted, but the favourable winter and spring conditions have set the Hawke’s Bay orchards up for another boomer season.
The New Zealand 2014 national apple crop was just over 17 million cartons (17,270, 729) and the 2015 season saw over 18 million cartons.
“In the off season we are usually hoping for the fruit to stick and keep some consistency, but this year is looking very strong too,” says Mr Gillies.
However weather forecasters are predicting one of the driest summers on record so BOSTOCK New Zealand Orchard Managers are already starting to plan for the “big dry”.
“We are ensuring we have all our irrigation systems are in place and are working well to manage water.”
Mr Gillies says a hot, dry summer will also bring many benefits, reducing the risk of disease and improving the quality of the fruit.
“When it’s hot and dry we expect good sugar, colour and storage. Bright red, sweet juicy apples that store well are exactly what our markets are looking for so the confidence levels are high in Hawke’s Bay at the moment.”
The Royal Gala, Fuji and Diva apple varieties will finish in full bloom this week.