The 2015-16 avocado season has delivered bumper returns for growers.

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said the final orchard gate return (OGR) per hectare for the industry was not yet available as the figures were still being compiled with new GIS mapping of hectarage.

However, key individual exporters are reporting record export tray returns. Industry sources note that exporters use different methods to arrive at their returns, making it difficult to directly compare performance.

Alistair Young, director of the Avoco joint venture, which accounts for about 60 per cent of the sector, said its growers had experienced a fabulous year. The average export OGR for Avoco's BOP growers was slightly more than $28 per tray, with the figures for Northland slightly lower because of additional freight costs, he said. Avoco, Just Avocados, and Seeka Kiwifruit Industries are understood to account for about 80 per cent of the sector.


Seeka's general manager grower services, Simon Wells, said 2015-16 had been an excellent year for the avocado industry and emphasised the need for the industry to continue to collaborate in the coming season.

Seeka, a leading post-harvest company and Australasia's biggest kiwifruit grower, is also a small but significant avocado grower. Seeka says its commitment to its growers had paid off with an average net export OGR of $26.86, well up on last season's $16.64 per export tray. The company also reported strong pricing for its domestic sales.

In the 2015/16 season, Seeka packed and exported about 225,000 trays, and supplied 84,000 trays to the domestic market.

Seeka has promoted the company's avocado specialist, Jonathan Dixon, to the role of chief technical officer, with Lynnaire Avers taking over as avocado category manager, and Ben Tuck recruited as avocado customer relationship manager.

Brand and marketing manager Annmarie Lee said its growers had supported Seeka's approach to harvesting, in which picking volumes were managed to match directly identified sales. The approach ensured some fruit was held on the trees for the post-Christmas period when prices were highest.