Northland avocado growers supplied 1.1 million trays of fruit for export in 2017/18 and while that was 27 per cent down on the previous year, it was the largest regional contribution in New Zealand. Production was significantly lower in the mid-North producing area by a whopping 51 per cent, while increasing 3 per cent in the Far North. However, Northland's share of total exports rose to 50 per cent due to a 65 per cent decrease in production in the Bay of Plenty. Assuming the national average ''orchard gate'' return was received, Northland growers earned more than $43 million in 2017/18, down from $53m in 2016/17.
As reported on these pages in recent weeks, Northland kiwifruit growers supplied Zespri with just under 3.3 million trays of fruit, 5 per cent less than the previous year's harvest and 30 per cent below the record harvest of 4.7m trays in 2014/15. Northland's share of the national crop rose to 2.7 per cent due to a 16 per cent fall elsewhere. The reduction in harvest was due to a 23 per cent fall in average production per hectare, the lowest level in seven years, while the producing area rose 24 per cent. Grower returns fell by 10 per cent from $43 million to $38m, the average revenue before costs rising 20 per cent to just over $13.40/tray.
Just under 87.8M kg of milk solids was produced in Northland in the 2017/18 season, up 1.8 per cent on the previous season in Northland, earning $596 million. With a slight fall of 1.2 per cent in hectares in production, the annual increase was the result of a rise in milk solids per hectare (1.8 per cent). Milk solids production in 2017/18 was 3 per cent below the 2015/16 record. Nationally, Northland's share of production rose by 0.1 per cent and there was a 4 per cent lift in the total payout price to $6.79/kg milk solids. The dairy industry's earn of $596m was 6 per cent more than the year before.
An estimated record 3.8 million cubic metres of roundwood was harvested from Northland forests in 2017/18, or 7 per cent more than harvested the previous year. It was also 3 per cent above the previous record set in 2015/16. However, due to increased harvest activity in other regions, Northland's share was only slightly over 11 per cent of the national harvest fell. Since the mid-2000s, the plantation forest area in Northland has fallen from 172,000ha to around 144,000ha. Based on an average log price of $154 per cubic metre, the region's forest owners earned around $594 million in 2017/18, up 14 per cent on the previous year.
Just over 2.91 million cubic metres of logs were exported from Whangārei in the year ended June 2018. This is 1 per cent higher than the volume exported the year before and just below the annual export record of 2.96 million cubic metres recorded in the year that ended in March 2018. Due to higher log prices, the value of logs shipped from Whangārei rose by 16 per cent to $480 million in the June 2018 year. At the national level, the volume of log exports rose 13 per cent in the year ended June, with strong growth experienced across all major ports except Lyttelton.
* Sourced from the Northland Regional Council Economic Quarterly report, December 2018.