Welcome to the latest edition of the Just Avocados newsletter.
It would be fair to say that the 2018 season to date has brought more challenges than we have seen for some time. The season started well with strong early supply out of the Far North matched with strong market demand from Asia. However, it did not take long for signs to appear of what was to come.
Initially, we had a high variability in fruit maturities which made it challenging to handle in market, and more cosmetic defects than we had encountered in previous seasons. As we transitioned through the season, the mixed or variable maturity moved into high maturities, perhaps tracking at four to five weeks ahead of previous seasons.
This seemed to coincide with a softening Australian market which was tracking at values not seen for some time. Harvest plans were adjusted, and due to the amazing support received from growers, we managed to navigate through this tricky period without over-exposing ourselves to the low Australian wholesale values. We focused on direct retail and running our Asian programmes. The Australian market responded and we are now on the home stretch focusing on Australian retail with approximately 30% of the programme left to harvest.
Please note that with the high maturities we aim to complete export harvest by the second week of January. If you are still hanging fruit, please speak to John or Kyra to ensure you are locked into harvest by this time.
As always, we learn more in challenging seasons and that is most definitely the case for Just Avocados. We have refined our harvest plans and tweaked our cool chain and inventory management to achieve better in market quality outcomes. Our presence in the Australian market through JH Leavy & Co provides us with a clear advantage over other NZ exporters with regards to inventory management and efficiency getting fruit to market and end customers.
In this edition of the newsletter, we introduce Kyra Fielden – our new Grower Services Representative for Bay of Plenty, Erica provides some interesting reading on pruning and new plantings, Helen outlines some things to watch when harvesting, Dale provides timely reminders about orchard pests and GlobalGAP requirements, plus we have updates on the markets, Avoworks and what’s happening in Northland.
I thoroughly enjoyed our AGM and Christmas functions over the last few weeks. Thanks to everyone who attended.
A big thank you to Grant Kokich who was appointed a Grower Trustee at our AGM. It will be the first time we have had a representative from the North and it’s more timely than ever given the changing supply dynamic at an industry level and within our own supply base. Three years ago the Mid and Far North represented 17% of our total volume; this season 47% of our supply will come out of the North. We look forward to the contribution Grant will make to our trustee meetings.
On behalf of Just Avocados, I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy New Year. Thank you again for your ongoing support.