The kiwifruit industry has escaped March and April's horrendous weather largely unscathed despite more than half a metre of rain falling in the Bay of Plenty over that time.

The deluge has, however, increased the risk posed by the Psa disease.

Metservice meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said that with a few days of April still left, the two-month period's rainfall - measured at Tauranga - was 558mm (275mm in March and 282mm in April).

She said it was wettest two-month period recorded for the area since records began in 1890, although there had been individual months that had recorded higher rainfalls.


Nikki Johnson, the chief executive of the industry body, NZKGI, said a handful of kiwifruit growers near Te Teko and Edgecumbe had experienced significant flooding on their orchards from ex-Cyclone Debbie.

A small number of orchards which have had their fruit touched by floodwaters or dropped by wind will not be harvested due to food safety reasons.

Johnson said growers were being advised to keep a close eye for signs of Psa, which swept through the region from 2010 to 2013.

A wet autumn and a wet winter increases the risk of Psa, Johnson said.

She said the wet weather would not affect this year's harvest, but that it could impact on the overall health of plants in the future. She said the message to growers was for them to be vigilant about their plant protection.

"Growers need to be aware of the risks posed by Psa and to follow the management guidelines provided by Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH)," she said.

KVH was established in 2010 to lead the industry's response to the Psa outbreak.

The wet weather, which hit the Bay of Plenty particularly hard, has not had a huge impact on the kiwifruit harvest but it has slowed things down a little.


"We have had three or four weeks of consistently wet weather so it just means that there is less fruit being harvested," Johnson said.

"We have now had a week of sunshine. The harvest is happening at full speed, so we don't anticipate any long term issues - it's just a slower start to the season than we had anticipated," she said.

Johnson said kiwifruit, a winter crop, was naturally quite resilient in bad weather.

She expected the "green" harvest be slightly down this season, compared with last year's unusually big bumper crop, and for the "gold" crop to about the same size as last year's.

A spokeswoman for Zespri said the kiwifruit marketer does not expect the rain have affected this season's crop. The harvest, which typically runs from March through to July, is now in full swing.

"I'm pleased to say that the New Zealand kiwifruit industry escaped relatively unscathed from Cyclone Cook," she said.

Psa - which is prevalent in most kiwifruit growing countries - arrived in New Zealand in 2010 with devastating effect.

By the end of June 2012, more than 35 per cent of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards were infected, with the gold variety, Hort16A, most proving the most susceptible.

The advent of a new Psa-tolerant variety, SunGold, has helped to lead the sector back to full recovery.

Annual kiwifruit exports for the June 2016 year hit a record - $1.7 billion - up 41 per cent from the previous June year.

Last year, Zespri reported its biggest-ever total return to growers. Zespri's sales revenue for the season hit $1.9 billion, up 21 per cent from the previous season.