Harvest Predictions Valuable for New Zealand Navels

29 August 2018

The evidence-based harvest date predictions provided by the Delytics crop quality system are adding increasing value to the New Zealand navel orange industry.

After collecting on-orchard Navel Orange maturity data for three full seasons, the Delytics maturity models produced are more reliably predicting harvest timing for growers and marketers.

New Zealand Navel orange growers voted to adopt an independent maturity testing programme in 2015 to ensure navel oranges meet minimum consumer acceptability levels prior to being harvested.The Delytics system adopted at the beginning of the 2016 season has been well received by the majority of growers and marketers and has contributed to a significant increase in the consumer acceptance of New Zealand navel oranges.

In 2017, supermarket monitoring showed that approximately 85% (6 out of 7) of all New Zealand navel oranges met the NZCGI minimum maturity standard, compared to 67% in 2015 before the Delytics system was implemented. A similar result is expected for the 2018 season once this year’s data is collected and analysed.

New Zealand Citrus Growers’ Inc (NZCGI) Executive Manager, Rebecca Fisher says the harvest predictions provided by Delytics are benefiting the whole industry.

Rebecca says, “The modelling Delytics carries out for NZCGI has improved each season as the system has been bedded in and more orchard monitoring data has been added to the models. It’s nice to have some certainty when New Zealand navels are going to be available for the retailers so they can finish the imports and consumers are offered the very best fresh quality produce as soon as it is harvested.”

Citrus marketers are also finding the Delytics harvest predictions valuable.

Ian Albers, Managing Director of Gisborne-based First Fresh Marketing says he is confident going forward that the Delytics system is a good tool for them.

Ian says, “The Delytics models were a good indicator of when the fruit was ready to be harvested this year. We find the models especially valuable as a long-range harvest timing indicator and we refer to them for pre-planning well before we start doing any destructive testing. It’s a big thing for us to be able to signal to our customers when we are likely to be starting so that they can programme that into their calendars.”

“At the end of the day, taste is king for us. We want to be in the market as early as we can with the best possible tasting fruit from day one, and this is one tool that can help us do that.”