New Zealand cherry growers are looking forward to a good season, it is still early days, but the spring weather has been good for growing at Cherri Global orchards in Hawke’s Bay and Otago where pollination has been good resulting in a strong flowering.
“We will harvest the earliest varieties for the domestic New Zealand market in late November with Chelan and Santina,” said Cherri Global CEO Phil Alison. “Export will somewhat depend on the strength of the domestic market pre Christmas but it is likely to commence early December.
“Our main target markets are China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Middle East but given the significant volume increase coming year on year, we are keen to diversify by developing our existing programmes in markets such as South East Asia, Japan and Korea.”
Prior to Christmas the domestic market is typically extremely strong and since they have a large portion of good early varieties which are well received pre-Christmas, it is likely that Cherri Global will sell those domestically again this year. Overall, they expect the export volume to be between 60 and 70% of the crop.
“We are fortunate to have orchards in a variety of different locations, North and South Island, high and low altitudes, as well as a range of varieties for different timing. Our largest property has good elevation and thus it’s later to harvest so it’s fruit will be perfect to target sales for Chinese New Year.
Chile is expecting a bumper cherry harvest, but Phil doesn’t think it will affect demand for New Zealand’s cherries.
“Chile’s production doesn’t seem to effect demand for New Zealand cherries because of the premium quality of New Zealand cherries. We pick all our cherries at peak ripeness and send by air freight, whereas Chilean growers tend to pick their cherries earlier, for firmness and send by sea freight, meaning they don’t have the same full flavour, we tend to service two different ends of the market.
“Everything we grow is marketed by Cherri Global, we have two brands for export – a black ‘Cherri’ brand and a red ‘Delicious’ brand. There is no difference in quality, it is just to give us more options around supplying different customers with unique brands.
Cherri Global are particularly excited about the coming season as they look to reap the rewards of the planar cordon planting system. This will be the first season the company expects to harvest more than half of their crop from the new planar cordon planting system which has already proved to provide larger, better quality cherries.
“The success of the planar cordon method can be attributed to enhancing light perception due to the upright, linear nature of the trees. Good light promotes good buds, resulting in an increased amount of large, firm cherries with great colour and flavour.”
Cherri Global was one of the first New Zealand cherry growers to adopt the growing method commercially and they have been working closely alongside premier New Zealand research agency Plant and Food Research to fine tune the system over the past 5 years.
“Our customers are really excited by the increased production we’re expecting this season from our planar cordon crop because with the trial volumes we’ve exported to date they’ve noticed a positive difference in both firmness and quality,” Alison said.
Cherri Global is expecting to harvest up to 1000 tonnes this season with at least 50% of that from the planar cordon system.
“We have found this method to significantly increase production per hectare which is really exciting for maximising output, especially since this method is much easier to harvest.”
Source: Fresh Plaza
Author: Nichola McGregor