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Bostock New Zealand Orchard Managers Shane Crawford and Craig Treneman planting new apple varieties in Hawke’s Bay. Supplied.

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, Bostock New Zealand, has been making the most of the sunny Hawke’s Bay winter weather, at times planting about 4000 new apple trees each day.

The company has been pulling out its old apple varieties and planting new trees to keep up with the international demand for organic, GM-free fruit.

Bostock New Zealand Organic Orchards Manager Craig Treneman says it’s exciting to be planting new varieties, which are sweeter and higher colour and appeal to the growing Asia market.

"We have some new orchard developments in Twyford, where we are planting about 4000 new tree varieties a day.

"We have a team working around the clock to get the trees in the ground over the next few weeks. The new planting has created about 20 new jobs and will continue to provide permanent and seasonal jobs through the year.

"The new apple tree varieties include Premier Star, TCL3 and Kingsbeer Red - all are bright red, sweet, juicy apples, which appeal to the overseas markets," said Mr Treneman.

This is the first stage of the new tree variety development.

"Bostock New Zealand has a strategy of ongoing tree replacement; at least 10% of orchard land should be in redevelopment every year. As trees get towards the end of their economic life, both fruit quality and overall yield suffer, new plantings recover the yield and offer the opportunity to upgrade to exciting new varieties," said Mr Treneman.

"It’s taken months of planning and project management and we are really excited to finally see the trees being planted."

Mr Treneman says New Zealand apple growers are becoming more focused on Asia markets and the new plantings reflect this.

"We need to grow apples which appeal to the Asian palette and these are sweet, juicy, bright red apples. So it’s time to get out of the old varieties and into the new sweeter varieties."

The new trees will start bearing fruit in 18 months.

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD