The USDA FAS annual report on New Zealand deciduous fruit has been released. The 16-page report indicates upward trending bearing acreae and production for the 2010-11 marketing year.

From the report:

Executive Summary:
Apple production in MY 2009 is estimated at 420,000 tons, down 8% from the previous year, and exports are estimated at 257,000 tons, down 15%. Poor weather is a chief culprit accounting for the drop in production and exports. With the exception of returns to organic growers, the drop in production did not translate into improved grower returns.

Conventionally grown fruit are thought to have returned on average approximately NZ $20.50 per tray carton equivalent (TCE), which is virtually the same as the previous year. By contrast, returns to organic growers are thought to be on the order of NZ $36/TCE. Breakeven costs for growers are estimated at approximately NZ $21/TCE.

Production in MY 2010 is forecast to rebound to 471,000 tons, largely because of favorable weather conditions during the spring and an increase in planted area. Exports are forecast at 297,000 tons. A WTO panel published its decision regarding New Zealand apple access to the Australian market at the end of June 2010. The panel found that Australia’s measures are inconsistent with its legal obligations as a WTO member under the WTO SPS agreement. Australia appealed the decision and the case was heard in Geneva in mid October 2010. The appeal panel’s decision is expected to be made public by the end of November 2010.

Planted Area According to estimates by Pipfruit New Zealand, which are based on grower intentions, area planted to apple production during the 2010/2011 production season will increase by 415 hectares, which is nearly a 5% increase. A significant amount of the new area is likely to be planted to the Jazz apple variety, but other new and established cultivars such as Royal Gala, Braeburn, and Fuji will also be planted.

Apple production during MY 2010 (October 2010 to September 2011) is forecast to rebound from last year’s poor season reaching a total of 471,000 tons, a 12% increase. (This forecast, which assumes no major weather problems later in the season, would put MY 2011 apple production at 13,000 tons, or 3% higher than the MY 2008 crop, which was considered a good crop in New Zealand.)

In addition to orchards returning to normal production yields, factors contributing to an increase in production include: yields from those trees that are strongly biennial bearing will be up this year;  the weather in the main growing regions has been favorable so far this spring and trees are showing good blossom levels; and, planted area has increased by approximately 5%. (Although this area is newly planted with immature trees that have not reached full production potential, it will still have an upward impact on production.)