Trevelyan's Pack and Cool says its $13 million investment in new technology and infrastructure has paid off in helping the company hit a record 15.5 million trays of kiwifruit for its Te Puke-based operations.
The figures are 23 per cent up on the trays packed by Trevelyan's last season and reflected the impact of new Gold (G3) plantings coming onstream. This year the company packed almost five million trays of G3 and 10.5 million of Green.
"There will be more G3 coming on next year," said general manager Steve Butler, who added that he expected Gold to become a bigger share of the company's overall throughput in coming seasons.
Mr Butler said the decision to install a new state-of-the-art fruit handling machine, build three new coolstores, a new packhouse and a new access road in preparation for the current season, had helped ensure the packing process ran smoothly.
"Our new optical grader had a real impact on our Gold productivity straight away, allowing us to pack more trays in a much shorter time frame than ever before," he added.
This year had been an unusual one for the industry with the harvest typically starting and finishing two weeks later than the norm.
Operations manager John Lewitt said the new equipment had allowed the company to get through a lot more fruit in a shorter space of time, which had been especially useful in the early part of the season.
In the main season, the extra capacity had helped pack the larger volumes of Gold within the right curing time, he said.
Mr Butler said seasonal staff numbers of 1400 were similar to last year, despite the increased efficiencies, because of the larger volumes.
"Obviously you don't need as many grading staff," he added.
But having a bigger machine with more drops, meant the same staff numbers were needed, but they could be allocated differently.
Mr Butler said the entire industry was in a good place.
"The new Gold fruit is proving to be very popular offshore and Green is also selling well.
"Thanks to a record harvest, this is going to be a long selling season."