New Zealand’s biggest avocado orchard for sale

6:42 PM Saturday June 15, 2019 True Commercial

The big avocado orchard is at Paparore 22 km north of Kaitaia in Northland. Photo / Supplied

The biggest avocado orchard in New Zealand - completely redeveloped with new higher-yielding higher-health clonal rootstock - has been placed on the market.

The 29.7ha property at Paparore 22 km north of Kaitaia was originally established by Californian-based owners in the mid-1980s. It was planted with Hass on Zutano seedling and Duke 7 rootstock on about 20ha of easy rolling sandy soils.

The freehold property was bought last year by a New Zealand consortium of highly-experienced avocado growers, and over the past nine months, has been completely re-developed to ultimately increase production levels and longevity of the orchard.

The intense improvement programme at the Paparore orchard included:

· removal of the all old existing trees whose production and health were in a poor state of decline;

· breaking up the compacted sandstone pan substructure; 

· installing raised planting rows to improve drainage for when orchard receives heavy storm rainfall; and

· replanting new avocado clonal rootstock at a high density – with these new clonal varieties already showing to be more highly-productive than seedling rootstocks.                                                                                                 

With the major improvement works now complete, the freehold property at 419 Paparore Rd is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Whangarei, with tenders closing at 2pm on Wednesday July 17.

Bayleys Whangarei rural sales specialist Vinni Bhula says the orchard is now planted in 5300 clonal trees with a 10 per cent ‘polliniser ratio’ and is on track to produce its first harvest in the 2022 season.

“This is by far the largest clonal avocado orchard to have ever come onto the market in New Zealand,” Bhula says.

“There were no short cuts taken during the redevelopment phase, having seen the redevelopment take place from start to finish.

“Its longevity has been strategically underpinned by the quality of the replanting and infrastructure improvements undertaken on what has historically been a high-performing location.

“For example, the new plant spacing has seen more trees planted into the orchard which, as they mature over time, will be easier to prune, manage, and harvest from their strong open canopies.”

Production forecasts for the new plantings assess the 2021/2022 season will sustain a conservative yield of 6913 trays, growing steadily over the ensuing years up to a level of 57,609 trays to be harvested in the 2025/2026 production cycle.

“Currently there is still a waiting list for avocado trees from approved nurseries, so anyone who is seeking a quality horticulture investment is certainly off to a great start here,” Bhula says.

“However, the owners used their networks within the industry to secure replacement trees much faster, and subsequently turned around the replanting process in a much quicker timeframe.”

The property is subdivided into 30 individual mature sheltered blocks of pinus radiata. The shelter belts provide protection from prevailing south-westerly wind patterns. The blocks also have excellent cold air drainage, minimising the risk of potential frost events.

Irrigation on the property comes from a consented 79m deep six-inch bore with approval to draw up to 182,000 cubic metres of water annually, with spare capacity for further development. Irrigation water is reticulated across the orchard via fully-upgraded mainline, valves, sub-mains, lateral system and the modern Netafim Supernet pressure compensating micro sprinklers.

Bhula says the Paparore property has the capacity to grade and pack fruit onsite.

He says a comprehensive catalogue of horticultural infrastructure buildings linked to the property also features in the sale package, and includes:

  • a partly-renovated two-bedroom owner/managers’ residence;
  • a currently dormant refrigerated cool store and associated chilling plant;
  • a 270sq m galvanised iron packing shed which houses grading equipment;
  • a 90sq m workshop and equipment storage half-round barn;
  • a 240sq n concrete pad for materials, hay bale, and fertiliser storage;
  • a pair of two and three-bay implement storage sheds; and
  • a stand-alone agri’ chemicals storage shed.

In its heyday under the previous owners, the Paparore landholding was part of a multi-national avocado producing empire which had fruit sourced from New Zealand, the USA, Peru and Chile.

Bhula says the vendors are in a position to offer an orchard management and harvesting contract to any buyer looking to purchase the Paparore orchard as a rural investment holding rather than under an owner/operator structure.

New Zealand has around 1400 commercial avocado growers – with most production taking place north of the Bay of Plenty and delivering crop year-round, with the biggest volumes coming during the summer months, Government statistics show avocados are the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand.