Australia / NZ

New Zealand Yields Down Due to Severe Weather

"We are late to begin (harvesting) by two weeks and I would say the crop is down in volume by at least a third possibly half in some groves." Anne Stanimiroff co-owner of the Rangihoua Olive Estate told Olive Oil Times.

May. 18, 2017
By Julie Al-Zoubi

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New Zealand’s olive pro­duc­ers were forced to delay har­vest­ing this sea­son as lack of sun and tor­ren­tial rain resulted in the fruit ripen­ing late. As the har­vest­ing sea­son should have been under­way, New Zealand was bat­tered by storms and cyclones in the worst weather to hit the coun­try for 50 years. Olive farm­ers braced them­selves for a dis­ap­point­ing har­vest and a drop in yields of up to 90 per­cent.

I would say the crop is down in vol­ume by at least a third pos­si­bly half in some groves.- Anne Sta­n­imiroff, Rangi­houa Olive Estate

On Wai­heke Island, a grape and olive grow­ing region not far from Auck­land, har­vest­ing didn’t get under­way until late April. Anne Sta­n­imiroff co-owner of the Rangi­houa Olive Estate told Olive Oil Times, We are late to begin by two weeks and I would say the crop is down in vol­ume by at least a third pos­si­bly half in some groves. The oils yields are look­ing to aver­age about 15 per­cent.”

New Zealand pro­duc­ers sub­mit­ted just four entries in this year’s New York Inter­na­tional Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion, and one com­pany, Olives New Zealand, cap­tured two Gold Awards with its Robin­sons Bay and Old French Road brands.

See more: This year’s best olive oils from New Zealand

Sta­n­imiroff added, On Wai­heke Island where we are based we have had record rain­fall for March which was 322 mm, the most ever since records begun in 1914. In April we had a fur­ther 271.5 mm of rain the most since 1968. Not good for some our grape grow­ers and olives.”

Sta­n­imiroff who has man­aged the Rangi­houa estate since 1996 and received a string of acco­lades for her olive oils told Olive Oil Times, At this stage, I have not tasted too much of our fresh EVOO to have an opin­ion on qual­ity.”

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Wil and Geritt Kruithoed, own­ers of the Mouto­hora Olive Estate in Thorn­ton braced them­selves for a 90-per­cent drop in yield, blam­ing the storms which lashed The Bay of Plenty in March.

Wil Kruithoed told NZ Farmer ear­lier this month, Har­vest­ing should already have begun but poor sun­shine has meant pick­ing won’t start for another 2 weeks.” Kruithoed, who is rely­ing on his Koroneiki olives to save the day, told NZ Farmer, I’ve heard every­one this year is down on pro­duc­tion; up north, the Wairarapa and prob­a­bly Can­ter­bury too.”

Kruithoed vowed not to increase his olive oil prices in order to retain busi­ness. He expressed opti­mism that the exces­sive rain will lead to a bumper har­vest next year. The Dutch cou­ple have grown olives on the estate for almost 20 years and have pro­duced award-win­ning olive oil.

Kerry Hart, co-owner of Azzuro Groves located on the Te Whau penin­su­lar of Wai­heke, described a mixed pic­ture when he began har­vest­ing in late April. Hart told NZ Farmer that some of his groves were loaded with fruit” while oth­ers bore very lit­tle. Hart added, It’s been a tough year but I will be keep­ing prices the same.”



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